The body of the farmer, who was shot, is yet to be handed over by Nepal, where an autopsy will be conducted.
It was around 7pm on Thursday that four men — Govinda Singh, 26; Gurmej Singh, 30; Resham Singh, 22, and Pappu Singh, 26 — were in the sugarcane fields of Bhoomi Dan village along the India-Nepal border in UP’s Pilibhit. “They were sowing the fresh crop when cops from the other side started firing at them. They ran for their lives,” Govinda’s father Gurdev Singh said. “Between border pillars 38 and 39, on no man’s land, my son was shot dead.”
Gurmej, too, was shot. He has been admitted to King George’s Medical College in Lucknow in a critical state with injuries to his abdomen and right leg. “They were well within Indian territory,” his father Kashmir Singh said. The two others, Resham and Pappu, were not injured and are being questioned by the police.
Nepal police, however, had a different narrative. “Nepal police officials told us that the four Indians were carrying drugs. When intercepted, they opened fire first — about 200m inside Nepal’s territory — and were shot at in retaliation and self-defence,” Pilibhit SP Jai Prakash Yadav said.
When asked whether any drugs were seized, Yadav said his Nepalese counterpart would send him a report on this later. “I do not have information about this at the moment.”
Yadav was among the officials, including ADG (Bareilly zone) Avinash Chandar, Pilibhit district magistrate Pulkit Khare, SSB 49th Battalion and Intelligence Bureau officials who held an emergency meeting with Nepalese officials at SSB’s Kamalapuri border post on Friday afternoon. Part of the Nepalese delegation were Kanchanpur district magistrate Ram Prakash, SP Uma Prasad Chaturvedi and commandant of the Armed Police Force of Nepal Virendra Kumar.
“The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere… The Nepalese officials have assured us that action will be taken only after a fair investigation… To ensure such incidents do not recur, some modalities have been fixed. A WhatsApp group has been created for officials. SSB, Armed Police Force of Nepal, UP Police, Nepal Police, forest officials on both sides and delegates of the DMs will start joint foot patrolling,” ADG Chandar said.
“Following a proposal from our side, Nepal may send a joint team of their officials and citizens to India to answer questions Indian locals, families of the deceased and the injured, and Indian officials may have.”
At Bhoomi Dan, along the border, one company of Police Armed Constabulary and forces from five police stations have been deployed.
This comes nine months after another Indian national was gunned down near the Nepal border in Bihar’s Sitamarhi. At that point, as in Pilibhit, there is no fencing along the border. SSB had said at the time that the firing had happened “deep inside Nepalese territory”. The Sitamarhi SP had added that the case was a “fallout of local issues”.