Inspections stepped up to curb import of illegal firecrackers during Tihar festivalAnyone caught with firecrackers would be charged under the Public Offence Act, warns Kathmandu Metropolitan Police.
Firecrackers are extensively used in Nepal during Tihar festival and therefore, the police have increased their vigilance to ensure that illegal and dangerous firecrackers are not brought to and used in Kathmandu Valley during the festival of lights that begins on Saturday.
Police officials say the Valley is now having security screenings at major entry points to stop the trafficking of firecrackers during the Tihar festival. Besides mobilising security personnel, police are also taking the help of sniffer dogs to ensure that firecrackers do not get past the security checkpoints.
“However, until now, no cases of smuggling of firecrackers have been reported. Only a few packets were found from some individuals, which were seized. No one has been found until now in the Valley with firecrackers,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Uttam Raj Subedhi, at Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range told the Post. “Before the ban, firecrackers used to be extensively used in Nepal during Tihar. However, their use has declined since the imposition of the ban.”
Nepal Police data shows as many as 53 cases related to smuggling and sales of illegal firecrackers have been registered in the past two years, with 32 persons being detained by police for committing such crime.
“On November 7 last year, police destroyed firecrackers worth millions which were confiscated from various parts of Kathmandu Valley during routine inspections by police ahead of Tihar. Nine people were arrested at the time,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Hobindra Bogati, spokesperson for the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range.
“That shows how committed we are to make the Valley firecrackers free. Strict action would be taken if anyone is found involved in a similar activity,” Bogati added.
Police have said no one will be allowed to smuggle, distribute, sell or use firecrackers. “Anyone caught with firecrackers would be charged under the Public Offence Act. If the quantity of the explosive substances is high, the person may be charged under the Explosive Act,” said Subedhi. “Police in plain clothes are also deployed across the Valley to inspect whether firecrackers are available or not in the market.”
Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu will be working as per the security plan they had unveiled before Dashain. “No criminal activities were recorded during Dashain as the security was very tight. Likewise, we will also implement a similar level of security plan during Tihar to curb crimes,” said DSP Bogati. “We have deployed 25 percent more force than at other times to provide security throughout the festive time. Our offices will provide 24-hour service throughout the Tihar festival.”
Police personnel have been deployed on foot, bicycles, motorcycles and vehicles for seal and search, cordon and search, picketing, ambushing and vigilance, and cross-checking operations.
“The number of quick response teams, patrol units, sniffer dogs and reserve units have also been increased to check illegal trade in firecrackers both in the border areas and in the shops within the Valley,” Subedhi added.