Nepal: One killed, dozens injured as refugees clash with police in Jhapa

A Bhutanese refugee was killed and at least two dozen others injured when a group of refugees of Beldangi camp in Jhapa district clashed with the police Sunday afternoon.

Narapati Dhungel, 16, of sector G, Block 38, died when police opened fire to control a violent scuffle that erupted at the refugee camp, reports said. He received bullet injury on his neck.

Over 20 refugees and four Armed Police Force personnel were injured in the clash that intensified after the police intervention. Three refugees who received bullet injuries are in a critical condition, reports added.

Police intervened into the scuffle inside the camp when a group of irate refugees tried to attack Hari Adhikari, secretary of the camp management committee at Beldangi-2, for claiming in a radio interview yesterday that third-country resettlement was the only choice for refugees. They said Adhikari's comment was against the interest of the Bhutanese refugees, who have been languishing in seven camps in eastern Nepal since last 17 years.

Carrying Dhungel's dead body, hundreds of refugees demonstrated against the police action.

Meanwhile, the refugees have said their "repatriation campaign" beginning Monday will go on despite the heavy security presence on the Indian border. Reports quoting refugee leaders said 15,000 refugees were preparing to cross Mechi Bridge and enter India as part of their attempt to repatriate to their homeland.

India has deployed Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and combat forces of West Bengal Police to 'prevent' the Bhutanese refugees from entering India.