SSB jawans patrol on the Nepal border in Pithoragarh district. A Tribune file photo Indian border guards claim they were chasing smugglers29 Nov 2015 | 4:51 PM
NEW DELHI: Thirteen armed Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel were briefly detained by Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) after they crossed over into the neighbouring country while chasing some petroleum smugglers on Sunday.[ + read story ]
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 29
Thirteen armed Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel were briefly detained by Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) after they crossed over into the neighbouring country while chasing some petroleum smugglers on Sunday.
The personnel were released later in the afternoon.
The incident took place at 7 am, when 13 armed men of the SSB — a sub-inspector and 12 constables — who were patrolling on the Indian side of the border with Nepal's Jhapa district learnt of some smuggling activities on the border between Kishanganj district, Bihar and Jhapa district. Constables Roshan and Ramprasad first crossed over chasing the smugglers after which they were surrounded by villagers. The remaining patrol then entered the border to rescue the two detained.
Nepal claimed the personnel had entered 100 metres into Nepal in Sunsari — a district that lies on the Nepal-India border — and fired at the four unarmed Nepalese nationals while chasing a group of chemical fertiliser smugglers.
However, the Indian embassy in Nepal said the border guards were chasing smugglers and fired at them in self-defence on the Indian territory.
The SSB Director General BD Sharma admitted the men should not have crossed over into Nepal armed, but called it an accident.
“Two of our jawans tried to chase the smugglers. While chasing them our two men entered Nepal territory. There is no border marking there. The smugglers caught the two men and handed them to the APF, which, like the SSB, is Nepal’s border guarding force. These two men were detained and kept at a APF post,” said Sharma.
He added: “The remaining 11 men also went inside Nepal to rescue the two men without realising that they are making a mistake, especially by taking arms. They should not have gone without informing their senior officers and a flag meeting. These 11 men were also directed by the APF to remain there. I then spoke to the IG Armed Police Force Nepal, Kosh Raj Onta (the AFP’s chief). The SSB men were then released and their arms returned. They were treated nicely. I have assured him that such incidents will not be repeated.”
He said he had ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident.
“The inquiry will ascertain what happened, why it happened, who was at fault and take corrective actions,” he said.
Jhapa’s Assistant Chief District Officer Dambaru Prasad Niraula said the men were handed over to the Indian side after investigations.
"They (SSB jawans) were quizzed on the reason for entering Nepal," Nepal's My Republica news portal quoted Nirauala as saying.
Relations between India and Nepal have been strained in the recent months after Madhesis — people of Indian orgin occupying the Nepal’s Terai region that is near the Indo-Nepal border — began to protest against the new Constitution, which was unveiled on September 20. Protesters blocked Nepal’s key border trade points with India, causing severe shortages of fuel and other essentials in the country. — (With PTI inputs)
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