In a rare incident of violence by Nepal Maoists in northern India, a group of rebels on Thursday snapped the cables of a suspension bridge that served as a pedestrian bridge that connected Nepal with Uttaranchal.
The Seetapul bridge across the Kali Nadi was extensively damaged and pedestrian traffic was stopped by authorities.
The bridge, known as jhoolapul, connects the Garbangya and Kalapani area of Pithoragarh district with the Changru area of Nepal across the India-Tibet-Nepal border, 160 km from Pithoragarh district headquarters.
The walkway was mostly used by Nepalese living along the border to enter Indian territory to buy essential commodities and groceries from the nearby Garbangya and other markets in Uttaranchal.
Indian pedestrians had already stopped using this Seetapul bridge to buy goods from Nepalese markets across the border for fear of being targeted in the major incidents of violence there.
"Their main objective was to de-link totally Uttaranchal territory with the Nepal territory," said a senior administrative officer at Dharchula tehsil.
A senior police officer said that the information about entry of some jawans of Royal Nepalese Army and Nepalese police into the Garbangya area of Dharchula tehsil in Pithoragarh district to track down the Nepalese Maoists appeared to have provoked the insurgents to snap the land link.
"The Maoist insurgents who caused the sabotage might have thought that by de-linking the Uttaranchal territory with the Nepalese territory, the jawans of Royal Nepalese Army and the police would not be able to return to Nepal through this route," said a senior police officer at Pithoragarh.