Nepalis angry at India for border killing

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Protests flared on Friday along the border between Nepal and India, a day after Indian security forces fatally shot a Nepali man who was protesting their presence on disputed territory.

Indian troops had prevented the Nepalis from completing the construction of a culvert in the disputed area, setting off the protest.

A day after the killing of the man, Govinda Gautam, 25, thousands of Nepali protesters gathered and chanted anti-Indian slogans, demanding that the construction of culvert be completed and that the land be returned to Nepal’s control.

Indian border forces opened fire with tear gas shells and live ammunition as the protesters approached. Some of the protesters threw stones at the Indian forces.

Nepal’s paramilitary forces and the police were also deployed in the disputed area. They used tear gas in an effort to prevent protesters from crossing the border. Witnesses said there were more than 10,000 protesters. Other demonstrators rallied outside the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, the capital.

“The area is tense,” said Manohar Khanal, the chief district officer in Kanchanpur, which is by the border. “We are trying to normalize the situation by calling an all-party meeting, but in vain.”

Nepal’s government on Friday described Mr. Gautam as a martyr. Mr. Gautam was a migrant worker and had recently returned from Qatar on leave when he became involved in the protest. He had been intending to return to Qatar in about two weeks. He had a wife and three daughters.

Mr. Khanal said that the Nepali and Indian authorities had reached an agreement to allow the construction of a culvert about three weeks ago, but that Indian forces tried to stop the construction.

Indian security personnel have complained that Nepali villagers were throwing stones at them. Several dozen Nepalis were said to have been injured in the violence.

Nepalis have warned that their protests would continue unless they were allowed to complete the construction.

“We will not backtrack,” said Prem Bahadur Basnet, from Punarbas in Kanchanpur district. He said the protests would continue on Saturday.

Nepal and India often have minor disputes along their border, but gunfire from the Indian side is rare.

The New York Times

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