Kathmandu/New Delhi: Nepal said it would seek details on the alleged cross-border shooting by Indian paramilitary SSB on Wednesday in the eastern part of the Himalayan nation, in which four people were injured, while an SSB official said the incident took place in Indian territory and the three injured men were smugglers.
During a meeting of a parliamentary committee in Kathmandu, Nepal's Home Minister Shakti Basnet said India's attention would be drawn through the external affairs ministry.
He said the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel fired in no-man's land in Bhantabari in Sunsari district, injuring Nepali nationals Ashok Yadav, Naresh Yadav, Manoj Yadav and Saroj Yadav, who hailed from Haripur. They were taken to a hospital in Dharan in the district.
Sunsari's chief district officer Ravilal Panta said the SSB men fired during a dispute between locals and a truck driver transporting fertilisers.
District police chief Sanjay Raj Sharma told the media that Satana SSB post in-charge Ranbir Singh, contacted over phone, allegedly admitted to the firing.
He said it was wrong on the part of SSB personnel to open fire in Nepali territory and that necessary action would be taken over the incident.
Meanwhile, SSB Inspector General Ashok Kumar Singh, who is based in Patna, told IANS over phone that the incident took place around 5 am in Indian territory facing Nepal's Haripur village.
At least three SSB troopers and as many smugglers were injured in the incident along the border, he said, clarifying that the incident took place on the Indian side of the border. "Nepalese are claiming that SSB personnel fired bullets inside Nepal, but it is totally wrong."
Singh said a team of five SSB personnel -- an assistant sub-inspector, a head constable and three constables -- were on patrolling duty when the incident occurred.
He said the SSB personnel saw some men smuggling materials like diesel, petrol and fertilizers from the Indian side to Nepal.
"Petrol, diesel and fertilizers are prohibited materials. The smugglers, who were in large numbers, attacked our men when they stopped them," Singh told IANS.
"In the meantime, some residents of Haripur village in Nepal reached the spot and joined the smugglers. They also caught our head constable and tried to pull him towards the Nepal side," the SSB official added.
Singh said one of the constables then fired six rounds in the air, realising the danger to their lives.
"The attackers were residents of Nepal and they fled to their village. Three of them received injuries," he said.
"Our three personnel also received injuries in the clash but they are out of danger, he added.
"Later, we came to know from officers of the Nepal Armed Police Force that three villagers of Nepal received bullet injuries in the firing," he said.
Asked if the SSB shared the information with the Union Home Ministry, he said: "We have sent information regarding the incident to the SSB headquarters and most probably they would have shared it with the Home Ministry.