Indian killed as Nepal police clear Madhesis from border point

Nepal police on Monday shot dead an Indian national during protests in the the country's Birgunj city close to the Indian border

Kathmandu: A 24-year-old Indian was killed as Nepal police opened fire on people demonstrating against the new Constitution near the Indo-Nepal border, hours after security forces baton-charged Madhesi protesters and evicted them from a key bridge in the area in a pre-dawn swoop. 

Ashish Ram of Raxaul in Bihar was killed as police opened fire on protesters at Shankaracharya Gate near Birgunj Customs, according to Home Ministry sources.

Ram received bullet shot in his head and was declared dead at the hospital.

The deceased was identified after a phone call was made to his maternal uncle from his mobile, police said.

Clashes erupted in different parts of Birgunj today after Nepalese police baton-charged Madhesi protesters, burned down their tents and evicted them from the Miteri bridge at the Indo-Nepal border, opening the main Birgunj-Raxaul border trading point for the first time in 40 days. 

Violence in the area forced authorities to clamp an indefinite curfew.

Nearly 200 empty trucks stranded in the Nepalese side of the border were allowed to enter into the Indian territory during the brief period when the police took control of the area. 

Several protesters were injured after police fired rubber bullets to maintain law and order.

Eight personnel of Nepal Police and Armed Police Force have also sustained injuries after agitators hurled stones at them. 

Five protesters were arrested when the police intervened at around 4.30 am to open the Birgunj-Raxaul trading point through which about 70 per cent of bilateral trade is done, Home Ministry spokesperson Laxmi Prasad Dhakal told PTI. 

Security personnel baton-charged about a dozen protesters who were sleeping in the tents set up on the bridge between Nepal-India border. The tents and beddings used by the agitators were burned.

Madhesis - who claim to represent the interests of the Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal's Terai region (plains) - have been protesting close to the main trading point near Raxaul. Their agitation has led to a halt in supply of essential goods, causing acute shortage of fuel in Nepal. 

Some three dozen Indian truck drivers, who were stranded on the Nepalese side of the border due to the blockade, had staged sit-in at the Indian Consulate office in Birgunj for the past few days seeking their return to India. There is a 15-km long queue of vehicles waiting for clearance from Indian authorities for entering into Nepal, Dhakal said.

These vehicles were carrying essential fuels, LPG, medicines and food items for supply to the landlocked country.

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