Nepal on Sunday briefly detained 13 personnel of India’s Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), who allegedly entered the country with arms while chasing suspected smugglers near Jhapa district, bordering Bihar.
Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF) personnel deployed at the Border Account Post at Kechana Village in Jhapa district, bordering Bihar’s Kishanganj district, arrested the SSB jawans around 6:30 AM, according to Nepal Police sources.
Four SSB jawans were carrying modern rifles, they said. All 13 SSB personnel were later released after being briefly kept at APF camp in Kechana.
Assistant Chief District Officer Dambaru Prasad Niraula said they were handed over to the Indian side after an investigation into the incident.
“They (SSB jawans) were quizzed on reason for entering Nepal,” Nirauala was quoted as saying by My Republica.
Indian officials in New Delhi said the patrol party comprising 13 SSB personnel followed the lead team of two jawans, identified as Constables Roshan and Ramprasad of the 12th SSB battalion deployed in the area, and “inadvertently” crossed over to the other side by about 50 metres into Khuntanmani village after which villagers surrounded it.
“Thirteen of our men were detained by APF at a border post along Indo-Nepal border. I had an interaction with the APF Chief and IG Mr Kesh Raj Onta and he had assured that these men will be released,” said SSB Director General B D Sharma in New Delhi.
Sharma said there has been no ‘bodily harm’ to the SSB personnel and that they have been extended due courtesies by APF.
The paramilitary force guards the 1,751 km-long open frontier with Nepal.
Last week, four Nepalese nationals sustained injuries after being allegedly shot by SSB personnel in southern Nepal near the border with India.
Nepal alleged that the SSB personnel entered 100 metres inside Nepalese territory in Sunsari district, which lies on the Nepal-India border, and fired at the four unarmed Nepalese nationals while chasing a group of chemical fertiliser smugglers.
The Indian embassy here, however, had said the border guards fired at the smugglers in self-defence inside Indian territory.
India had last week hit out at Nepal for “shifting” blame of atrocities inside its “volatile” Sunsari district to the SSB.
Relations between India an Nepal have nosedived in recent months as Indian-origin Madhesis protesting against the new Constitution have blocked key border trade points with India, causing severe shortages of fuel and other essentials in the country.