Despite stringent measures, firecrackers were easily available in the valley this TiharFirecrackers have been banned in the country since 2006 due to safety concerns.
Despite a nationwide ban on the sale and purchase of firecrackers, there were explosions on just about every Kathmandu street corner this Tihar. The government had imposed a ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in 2006 in light of increasing injuries, but this year, firecrackers were easily available in the market.
“There is a huge demand for firecrackers during Tihar. So, in order to make quick money, many individuals along the border smuggled in the firecrackers from India and brought them to the Valley,” said Senior Superintendent Uttam Raj Subedi, chief of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range.
Police confiscated over five sacks of firecrackers from dozens of retailers across the Valley. The firecrackers included benign ones like sparklers and spinners to more dangerous ones, such as rockets and explosives.
“Many retailers were found selling firecrackers, which they had brought in through their relatives or acquaintances,” said Deputy Superintendent Hobindra Bogati, spokesperson of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range.
Those caught with firecrackers will be charged under the Public Offence Act and if the quantity of explosive substances is high enough, they could even be charged under the Explosives Act, according to Subedi.
During Tihar, police in plainclothes were also deployed across the Valley to inspect markets for illegal firecrackers.
Data from the Nepal Police shows that as many as 53 cases related to the smuggling and sales of illegal firecrackers were registered in the past two years, with 32 persons detained by police.
Except for the sale and use of firecrackers, the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range reported no serious crimes this Tihar.
“We had deployed 25 percent more staff to provide security throughout the festive period,” said Bogati.
Police personnel were deployed on foot, bicycles, motorcycles and vehicles for seal and search, cordon and search, picketing, ambushes and cross-checking operations during Tihar, he added.