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Nepal protester shot dead after boy dies in mining pit

AFP  |  Kathmandu 

One person was killed in Nepal when police opened fire on protesters after a 12-year-old boy drowned to death in a sand mining pit, officials said Monday.

Angry crowds blocked the highway holding the young boy's body in the southern district of Sarlahi on Sunday, demanding the government stop rampant sand mining of rivers which they say is putting local communities at risk.

They were also demanding compensation for the family of the victim.

Local police chief Gopal Chandra Bhattarai said that a 26-year-old man was killed "in firing to contain agitated locals".

"Police was compelled to fire after nearly two dozen police personnel were injured by stones pelted by the protesters. Unfortunately, one person died in the firing," Bhattarai told AFP.

The boy fell and drowned in the deep pit Saturday when he had gone for a dip in the river as the temperature rose to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in the area.

His body was recovered on Sunday with help of local authorities.

A construction boom has created a high demand for stones and pebbles, depleting the Himalayan country's river resources at an alarming rate.

"We were there to demand an end to rampant sand mining. Today, one child has died, tomorrow we might lose another one," said Ramkaran Mahato, who was standing next to the victim when the bullet hit.

In recent months, Nepal has seen several protests against the communist government but police have usually resorted to water guns, tear gas or batons to control crowds.

In August last year, a protestor was killed in western Nepal when police fired at crowds demanding action for rape and murder of a teenage girl.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, July 01 2019. 15:40 IST