Four persons were killed in a police firing after the squatters of the proposed Motipur Industrial Area in Rupandehi clashed with the security forces on Sunday. At least 46 people have been injured in the clash.

Police so far have identified only one of the deceased as Ramesh Pariyar, 48, of Banganga Municipality-10. Fourteen Nepal Police personnel and 16 Armed Police Force personnel were also injured in the incident.

The clash took place as police deployed to remove squatters from the industrial area were confronted by the squatters. The deceased were injured in police firing and breathed their last at Bhairahawa’s Universal Medical College.

Security situation escalated after police arrested a local, Himal Rana, yesterday afternoon. Local residents have accused the police of highhandedness and opening fire without provocation.

Rupandehi district administration had been using police personnel to remove illegally-constructed huts and shanties from the industrial area for the past three days to lay the foundation stone of the industrial area.

As the number of squatters has been increasing in the area in recent times, the security forces, on the advice of local people’s representatives and social workers, had resorted to the strategy of using force to drive them out.

“There was an internal and verbal agreement to shoot dissidents below the knee if necessary,” said a people’s representative.

Police had earlier demolished about 4,000 temporary houses in the area on September 14. However, 200-300 people started coming in every day and encroaching the land, say locals.

According to locals, there were more than 5,000 ‘unidentified faces’ during the clash on Sunday.

Rupandehi District Administration Office imposed a curfew in the industrial area from 4:00pm yesterday until further notice to contain the situation.