Newspaper article International New York Times

One Dead as Protesters and Police Clash in Nepal

Newspaper article International New York Times

One Dead as Protesters and Police Clash in Nepal

Article excerpt

An Indian man was shot and killed when the Nepalese police fired tear gas and live rounds at protesters near a major border crossing into India.

Protesters and the Nepalese police clashed near the border with India on Monday, in violence that left an Indian man dead and threatened to further complicate a political and economic crisis in Nepal.

The police in the border town of Birgunj fired on protesters belonging to the ethnic Madhesi population who have been agitating against a recently passed Constitution, saying it would dilute their political voice.

About 5 a.m. on Monday, the police said, they cleared a number of tents and protesters from a bridge near Birgunj in a no man's land between the two countries, where they had been staging a sit-in for over a month. More than 200 trucks that had been stranded in Nepal crossed into India afterward, but none of the hundreds filled with cooking gas and merchandise stranded in India made their way into Nepal.

By late morning, about 500 protesters had converged in Birgunj, the police said. The demonstrators pelted security forces with stones, set fire to the office of a nongovernmental organization on the border and attacked a village police post, said Raju Babu Shrestha, the superintendent of police in Parsa District.

"At this point, we began to fire tear-gas shells to control the crowd," Mr. Shrestha said. "As the protesters continued attacking us, we fired bullets."

The Indian man who was killed, Ashish Kumar Ram, was in his early 20s and from Raxaul, on the Indian side of the border, Mr. Shrestha said. It was unclear why he was killed.

The police announced an indefinite curfew in Birgunj on Monday afternoon.

The clash could undermine a dialogue between Madhesi political parties and the Nepalese government. For more than a month leading up to the passage of the new Constitution in September, Nepal was convulsed by protests that left more than 40 people dead, most of them demonstrators. …

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