A patrol party comprising 13 SSB personnel was on Sunday detained by the Nepalese border guarding force after it “inadvertently” crossed over to the other side chasing suspected smugglers along the Indo-Nepal border in Bihar’s Kishanganj district.
“All the 13 SSB personnel, detained by Nepalese border guards, released and are back in Indian territory,” SSB DG BD Sharma said.
The incident occurred at about 7.30 am when a 13-member patrol party of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) saw suspicious activity along the Ambari-Kesna border post and began a ‘hot pursuit’ of the suspected smugglers.
Officials said the party followed the lead team of two jawans, identified as Constables Roshan and Ramprasad of the 12th SSB battalion deployed in the area, and “inadvertently” crossed over to the other side by about 50 metres into Khuntanmani village after which villagers surrounded it.
The squad was handed over to Nepal border guarding troops of Armed Police Force (APF) which brought them to their border post in Jhapa district of Nepal, they said.
“Thirteen of our men have been detained by APF at a border post along Indo-Nepal border. I had an interaction with the APF Chief and IG Mr Kesh Raj Onta and he has assured that these men who crossed over inadvertently will be sent back safely. A border meet is on between the field commanders of the two sides,” SSB Director General B D Sharma told PTI in New Delhi.
The DG said he is continuously monitoring the situation.
Officials said while 6 SSB troops are armed, the rest are without their service weapons.
The DG said there has been no ‘bodily harm’ to the personnel and that they have been extended due courtesies by APF and the issue will be resolved soon.
Officials said the SSB patrol team led by a Sub-inspector was on vigil in the area since early morning as the force had seized about 1,500 litres of diesel being allegedly smuggled to the other side Saturday evening.
“Last night, our teams seized about 1,500 litres of diesel which was being smuggled from the same area on the border and hence the patrol party was on alert,” SSB Inspector General (Operations) Deepak Kumar, speaking at the force headquarters, said.
After having witnessed suspicious activity, the officials said, two SSB jawans followed the alleged smugglers after which the rest of the party went in.
The paramilitary force guards the 1,751 km-long open frontier with Nepal.
The officials said reports from the ground state that local villagers have surrounded the Kesna border post of APF protesting against the SSB troops.