Indian authorities must order an independent civilian investigation into the death of a Nepali national allegedly due to firing by Indian paramilitary force personnel on 9 March, Amnesty International India said today.

Govinda Gautam was killed following an altercation between Nepali and Indian nationals over the construction of a culvert near the India-Nepal border in Lakhimpur Kheri district, Uttar Pradesh. Some media reports say that when the dispute turned violent, personnel from the paramilitary Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) opened fire, injuring Govinda Gautam, who later died. Reports also state that some SSB personnel were injured due to stone throwing by Nepali nationals. India and Nepal share an open border.

A day after the incident, India’s Ministry of External Affairs in a statement said, “The Sashastra Seema Bal has initiated an enquiry on this matter. The Government of Nepal is being requested through diplomatic channels to share post-mortem and forensic reports to facilitate the process.”

“Indian authorities should ensure a credible and independent civilian investigation into whether SSB personnel used unnecessary or excessive force. Where there is sufficient admissible evidence, suspects should be prosecuted in a civilian court,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.