Violent activities reported during electionsVoting has been postponed in some places following disputes and clashes. Security personnel fired warning shots to control the situation.
Violent activities have been reported in several places across the nation during the local level elections held on Friday. The activists of rival political parties clashed in some places while some miscreants attempted to disrupt the election in a few places.
In some places, security personnel fired warning shots to quell the clashes.
In Gorkha, a volunteer mobilised at Tarakhase polling centre in Bhimsen Thapa Rural Municipality-2 sustained bullet injuries when the security personnel opened fire to contain a mob. Police claimed that the security personnel were forced to open fire following a violent clash between the supporters of the Congress and the Maoist Centre.
“We had no alternative to open firing to protect the election booth and control the enraged mob after the Congress and Maoist activists entered the polling station and clashed,” said Superintendent of Police Kedar Khanal. According to him, poll volunteer Manish Thapa sustained bullet injuries in her thigh.
Election related violent activities were reported in around one and half a dozen places nationwide. The security personnel were compelled to take action following sporadic clashes at Chankheli Rural Municipality centre in Humla; Mishra Bhanjyang polling centre of Champadevi Rural Municipality-9 in Okhaldhunga; Doramba, Shailung and Khandadevi rural municipalities of Ramechhap; Ghyalchok in Gorkha; Dhankaul and Kaudanya in Sarlahi and Budhananda of Bajura. The police personnel fired into the air to contain the situation in those places.
Similarly, clashes erupted in Baiteshwor of Dolakha, Thantikandh of Dailekh, Chauri Deurali of Kavre, Pacharauti of Bara among other places. Two persons sustained injuries when the supporters of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) assaulted one another with Khukuris in Kohalpur of Banke district.
In Sindhupalchok, the activists of the UML and the Nepali Congress clashed at Kshamadevi Secondary School polling centre in Bahrabise Municipality-3 following a heated dispute. According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Daksha Kumar Basnet, the Armed Police Force personnel fired four bullets into the air to take the situation under control. Four people sustained minor injuries in the clash.
In Tanahun, the Congress activists assaulted the independent mayoral candidate of Byas Municipality Dipakraj Joshi. The assailants attacked him at Byas-8. The mayoral candidate, who sustained injuries in the head, was taken to Damauli Hospital for treatment. The Congress activists also vandalised his vehicle.
Dipakraj, the son of former Congress leader Govindaraj Joshi, is contesting the local election with the support of the UML.
Likewise in Rautahat, voting has been postponed after some people torched three ballot boxes at Baudhimai Municipality-2. The incident occurred following a violent clash between the supporters of Janata Samajbadi Party and the UML. According to Chief District Officer Krishna Bahadur Shahi, voting has also been postponed at Baudhimai Municipality-9 following a dispute among the political parties.
Similarly, some locals of Bhediyahi settlement looted a ballot box from Bhediyahi polling centre in Yamunamai Rural Municipality-2. The ballot box was whisked away by hoodwinking the security personnel deployed in the polling centre.
“There were disputes among the political parties. Some people took away the ballot box while the security personnel and the election officials were attempting to settle the dispute,” said Chief District Officer Krishna Bahadur Shahi. According to him, the security personnel later seized the ballot box back.
In Dhankuta, voting has been postponed in three polling centres of Sahidbhumi Rural Municipality following a heated dispute between the five-party alliance and the UML. Chief Election Officer Phanindra Prasad Parajuli said the voting in three polling centres was postponed as attempts to forge consensus among the disputed parties for voting resumption were unsuccessful.
Similarly, voting has been postponed at one polling centre each in Kavre and Ramechhap districts. The voting at Shreeram polling centre in Panchkhal Municipality-13 has been postponed due to the dispute between UML and the Congress activists. Likewise, the voting at Rakathum polling centre in Khandadevi Rural Municipality-1 has been postponed as the Congress and Maoist Centre activists clashed. The security personnel took the situation under control by firing bullets into the air but the election officials failed to resume voting.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police Bishnu Kumar KC, the spokesperson of Nepal Police, voting resumed in most of the places after the security personnel deployed in the polling centres took the situation under control.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission issued a press statement stating that the local level polls held on Friday were not as peaceful as expected.
The rights body had deployed seven high-level teams led by its chairman, members and former office bearers and 45 other teams including employees of the commission in all 77 districts for election observation.
“It seems that the polls could not become peaceful as expected as per the information of the observations of the commission,” states a press statement issued by the National Human Rights Commission after voting concluded on Friday.
According to the statement, voting was stalled in different parts of Saptari, Kavre, Achham, Kapilvastu and Dang and it was affected due to clashes between the parties in different parts of Bajura, Bajhang, Humla, Jumla, Achham, Kalikot, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Kavre, Sarlahi, Saptari, Rautahat, Dhanusha and Mahottari.
District correspondents contributed reporting.