Border sealed for tomorrow’s electionThe Ministry of Home Affairs has shut the Nepal-India border from Friday night until September 18 in view of the third phase of local level elections that takes place in Province 2 on Monday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has shut the Nepal-India border from Friday night until September 18 in view of the third phase of local level elections that takes place in Province 2 on Monday.
While closure of the border is a customary act during an election, special attention has been paid to prevent cross-border crimes, including the smuggling of arms and ammunition.
Home Minister Janardan Sharma, speaking at an event in the Capital on Saturday, said they are working closely with the Indian authorities to check any illegal movement across the border.
“I urge the people of Province 2 to actively participate in the elections,” said Minister Sharma. “Once the third-phase election successfully concludes, it will provide a strong base for implementation of the constitution.”
An assessment of the Home Ministry considers “easy” access to arms and ammunition and cross-border crimes as major threats to the election. Also, the anti-election activities of the cadres of the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal and supporters of “Free Madhes” campaigner CK Raut are deemed as major obstacles to peaceful polls.
The eight districts of Province 2 will see a total of 68,000 personnel deployed from the Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and the National Investigation Department.
In Birgunj, Superintendent of Police Sudip Giri said they have stopped vehicular movement along the Birgunj-Raxaul border. But ambulances and fuel tankers are crossing the border. Security personnel have not restricted cross-border movement of essential goods.
Security personnel have restricted vehicles from Rajat Jayanti Chowk to the border area. People are having to walk from Rajat Jayanti Chowk to the Miteri bridge. “We allow people to cross the border after screening,” said SP Giri, adding that they would bar people to cross the 24 hours before polling begins.
Though the main border crossing was sealed for the elections, officials said the regular customs business is ongoing. Santosh Yadav, information officer at the customs, said official works will continue till Sunday. “The customs office will be closed on Monday, the polling day,” he said. Cargo movement across the border has picked up pace because of the upcoming major festivals.
In Dhanusha, Nepal-India border points have been sealed from Saturday morning. The border points at Khajuri, Mahinathpur, Dhanauji, Debdiha, Nagarain and Phulag have been shut until the polls are over, according to police. Indian security personnel allow people to get into Nepal only after looking at their Nepali identity cards.
Sale of liquor has been banned in Dhanusha after the silence period ahead of Monday’s vote kicked in.
Police have started raiding liquor shops in the district. The local administration has asked hotels shut after 8pm. A special police team has been mobilised to heighten security in Janakpur Sub-metropolitan City, Dharapani, Puspawalpur, and some wards of the Ganeshman Charnath Municipality along the East-West highway.
The District Police Office has destroyed 3,500 litres of bootleg liquor since the candidate nomination day.
(With inputs from our correspondents in Parsa and Dhanusha)