Nepali villagers allege harassment by Indian forces (Lead, Superseding earlier story)

June 3rd, 2009 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, June 3 (IANS) Hundreds of Nepali villagers have fled their homes alleging assault and intimidation by Indian security forces at the border but the Indian embassy here says it has no such information, media reports here said Wednesday.
Residents of some villages in Dang district in midwestern Nepal, once a stronghold of the Maoist party, are now living under an open sky in a forest in the Deukhuri area of the district, Nepal’s biggest private television station Kantipur reported.

Women who go to the forests to collect fodder and men who cross over the open border with India to buy provisions have been complaining of harassment by Indian security personnel.

Besides the Indian patrols, armed groups from India are also allegedly attacking villagers.

Rana Bahadur B.K., a 58-year-old from Khangra village, told the Kathmandu Post daily Wednesday that two of his daughters who had gone to India to visit their elder sister never came back.

“I now hear that both have been sold in India,” he said.

The daily quoted another villager as saying that Indian patrols kept villagers under detention “for months” in the name of interrogation.

There was no immediate reaction from the Indian embassy in Kathmandu. It said it had no official information about the alleged attacks, Kantipur reported.

While the major political parties have begun discussing remedies, the Maoists have grabbed the issue as a handle to beat the new government of veteran Communist leader Madhav Kumar Nepal with.

Barsha Man Pun Ananta, Maoist lawmaker and former deputy commander of their People’s Liberation Army, broached the subject in the interim parliament Tuesday, criticising the Nepal government for being a “puppet” that had failed to protect its own people.

Nepal’s home ministry was asked to submit a report on the border attacks.

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