MoHA starts homework for poll security planThe Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has directed security agencies to prepare an integrated security plan in view of the upcoming local elections scheduled for May 14.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has directed security agencies to prepare an integrated security plan in view of the upcoming local elections scheduled for May 14.
The ministry has started extensive discussions with Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and the National Investigation Department to develop a security plan to ensure effective conduct of elections that are taking place after two decades while being opposed by the agitating Madhes-based forces.
The last time local elections were held was in 1997.
While the Madhes-based parties have been objecting to the elections, saying the government has failed to address their demand of constitution amendment, other sections including Netra Bikram Chand’s Maoist party and CK Raut’s “Independent Madhes” campaign could pose a challenge.
“We are assessing security situation and possible threats to elections and will bring a security plan for successful and peaceful conduct of elections,” said Balkrishna Panthi, spokesperson for MoHA , stopping short of naming any group of any section that could pose a challenge. “We have been holding extensive discussion with security agencies and district administration offices.”
During the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013, MoHA had identified 16 districts—Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusa, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Dang, Nawalparasi, Kapilvastu and Rupandehi in the Tarai and Rolpa, Pyuthan, Kalikot and Taplejung in the Hills-as “most sensitive”.
The sensitivity analysis was done on the basis of three factors— activities of underground outfits, anti-election forces and ethnic and regional organisations. The Mohan Baidya-led Maoist party had boycotted the second CA elections and the Chand group was part of that party.
Experts believe security challenges this time around too will be in the Tarai districts in view of Madhes-based parties’ announcement that they will not participate in the elections. Madhesi activist Raut, who is in police custody on secessionist charge, too has been running a campaign for “Independent Madhes” for a while.
MoHA is expecting a large turnover in local elections and it believes mobilisation of the Army will be essential. However, no formal decision has been taken to this effect as of now.
Security experts said political engagement and commitment to hold the election is a must.
“Psychological security is essential for people to go and vote. If there are tensions and confrontations, people might not show up at voting booths,” said Bishnu Raj Upreti, a security expert. “Hence, the government should first engage with the disgruntled Madhesi parties so that elections can be conducted in a free and fair manner.”
Govt transfers 20 DIGs
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has transferred 20 deputy inspectors general of Nepal Police.
DIG Prakash Aryal has been transferred to the Crime Investigation Department while DIG Mingmar Lama has replaced Aryal at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.
Similarly, DIG Bam Bahadur Bhandari has been given the responsibility of Metropolitan Police Office, Ranipokhari while DIG Devendra Subedi has been transferred to the National Police Training Academy. DIG Hemanta Pal will now lead the Special Unit of Nepal Police.
DIGs from various regional police offices have also been transferred.
DIG Ganesh KC is the new chief at the Central Regional Police Office while DIG Ramesh Kumar Bhattarai will head the Eastern Regional Police Office. Similarly, DIG Romendra Singh Deuja has been sent to the Far-Western Regional Police Office; DIG Madhu Prasa Pudasaini to the Western Regional Police Office and DIG Bijayalal Kayastha to the Mid-Western Regional Police Office. There have been no transfer orders for DIG Nawaraj Silwal and DIG Jaya Bahadur Chand.
DIG Chand’s appointment as the new police chief remains stayed by the court, while DIG Silwal, also the contender for the post, continues to lead the Central Investigation Bureau.