An Indian man has been shot dead by Nepalese Police who opened fire on demonstrators in a deepening crisis taking place on a crucial border between the two nations. Nepalese officials have said that several people were injured after protestors attacked a police station with stones and petrol bombs on Monday (2 November).
They added that six police officers were injured by protesters from the Madhesi ethnic minority who want a larger state and better political representation in Nepal. They also claim that a new constitution unfairly divides the ethnic Madhesis among a number of states, thus diluting their political power.
Residents of both India and Nepal can travel freely between the two countries and the police station that was attacked is situated about 300 metres inside Nepalese territory. An Indian police official said the man was on his way to the Nepalese town of Birgunj.
At least 45 people have died in the protests which began in August this year. Protesters have imposed a strike in the region and blocked a main border crossing between Birgunj in Nepal and Raxaul in India which provides much needed fuel and supplies to the capital Kathmandu.
Nepalese police official, Raju Bahadur Shrestha, said: "One of our officers was almost burned to death, we managed to rescue him," according to Al Jazeera. Shrestha said the man killed was identified as Ashish Kumar Ram.
The strike has led to a severe fuel shortage across Nepal and earlier today (2 November) police allowed 200 trucks and vehicles to cross into India via the crossing. But not without incident as five protestors were detained, and their tents destroyed, after they had pitched in the no-man's land between the two countries.
Vikas Swarup, India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman, said India was deeply concerned with the protests. "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."
Local political leader Purushottam Jha, said that thousands of Nepalese had reoccupied the bridge after being dispersed by security forces. However, trucks bringing fuel and other goods to Nepal were still being blocked by Indian customs officials at the crossing.