India voices concern over Birgunj crisis in Nepal

In the backdrop of the ongoing crisis in Nepal at the Birgunj-Raxaul border, India has expressed concern and stressed on the need for the government of Nepal to address the issue on a priority basis.

There was heavy firing by Nepal’s police forces in Birgunj to disperse the crowds from their sit-in spot on crucial Miteri Bridge at Indo-Nepal border, opening the Birgunj-Raxaul border point after 40 days. The blockade of the border had incapacitated the movement of trucks from both sides of the border.

”We are deeply concerned at reports coming in of firing today in Birgunj. An innocent Indian was also killed in the firing. Issues facing Nepal are political in nature and cannot be resolved by force. Causes underlying the present state of confrontation need to addressed by the Government of Nepal credibly and effectively,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

The crisis in Nepal has been triggered by the differences between the Nepal government and the Madhesis who have been protesting over the new constitution. The Madhesi front has been demanding the redrawing or demarcation of the federal provinces and inclusion of more rights and representation to the Indian-origin Madhesi people. Around 45 people have been killed in the agitation so far. Protests have been staged in various parts of Nepal against the seven-province model of the newly-promulgated Constitution for more than two months.

Nearly 170 freight trucks entered into India from Nepal after the border was opened, The Kathmandu Post reported. No trucks from the Indian side have entered Nepal. Indian freight forwarders and transporters have voiced their worries again today about the deteriorating situation across the border. “We are advising them to exercise caution and not put themselves in danger. We are monitoring the situation carefully,” said Mr Swarup.

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