Under attack, Nepal guns for Indians

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  • Published 9.04.04

Pashupati Nagar (India-Nepal border), April 9: Nepalese officials today condemned the manner in which Indian security forces remained “mute spectators” during the Maoist attack here on Wednesday night.

This was the first time Maoist guerrillas used Indian territory to carry out a successful strike on Nepalese establishments.

Nepal’s security officials are peeved at the fact that despite the presence of Special Services Bureau personnel barely half a kilometre from the site of the offensive, nothing was done to push the rebels back into Nepalese territory.

The Maoists not only penetrated as far as 60 metres into the Indian side of the border, but also provided covering fire to their comrades inside Nepal from vantage points.

The chief district officer of Illam, Prem Prasad Sapkota, told The Telegraph over phone that he was surprised at the inaction of the Indian forces when the militants used Indian territory to their advantage for almost an hour.

“They (Maoists) fired from the Indian soil but your security personnel remained mute spectators. You should ask your personnel what they were doing,” he said.

Sapkota said the Royal Nepal Army has been deployed at Pashupati nagar but refused to comment on whether the charge against the Indians would be pursued at higher levels.

The Indian security establishment was reluctant to speak about the incident.

“I do not have any comment to make. We have intensified patrolling in the area and have asked the Special Services Bureau to deploy forces and assist our patrols,” said B. Mishra, the north Bengal inspector-general of police.

A bureau official posted at the Pashupati nagar outpost had said yesterday that nothing much could be done in the darkness of night and the force was more concerned about remaining alert to thwart any attempt by the rebels to storm the Indian post and snatch the weapons stored there.

Around 140 Special Services Bureau personnel of the Charlie Company’s 24 Battalion are deployed in the area. However, the force has to guard two other posts apart from the one at Pashupati nagar.

Though no reports of the 41 police personnel kidnapped by the Maoists was available, officials confirmed that around 200 Royal Nepal Army personnel arrived today to take up positions in the border town.