KATHMANDU, April 15: The Ministry of Home Affairs has instructed both the police institutions to recall security personnel deployed in the security of VIPs, owing to shortage of manpower along the Nepal-India border at a time when the country is struggling to combat the spread of COVID-19.
A meeting held at the Home Ministry directed to deploy the security staff at the border who had been earlier appointed for security of VIPs by the cabinet meeting.
Earlier on April 8, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa had called Inspector General of Nepal Police Thakur Gyawali and Armed Police Force Shailendra Khanal and instructed them to call back those security staffers deployed for VIP security if there lacks the human resource along the border area.
Both the IGs, however, told the minister that they couldn’t go against the cabinet decision although they were ready to assign the security staffers for border security. They said they would implement the instruction upon the condition that the ministry would bear all the pressures from high-level political leadership.
Minister Thapa also assured the IG duo of facilitating over the issue along with handling all the pressures, according to the ministry sources.
Consequently, a meeting held in the ministry the next day [April 9] took the decision to this effect. Home secretary Maheshwar Neupane, joint secretary Ram Prasad Acharya, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Nepal Police’s Crime Investigation Division, APF’s AIG at Border Security Force and undersecretaries at the ministry were present in the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has directed to submit the details of security personnel deployed for VIP security only according to the VIP security work procedure prepared by the ministry and cabinet decision. It has also ordered them to inform it about their recall.
According to the work procedure, only the former president is entitled to VIP security for lifetime while the ex-vice president can enjoy this service only for five years after his/her retirement.
However, other ex-VIPs are still getting this service upon their influence, said a staffer at the Home Ministry.
According to sources, 2 deputy superintendent of police (DSPs), 8 inspectors, 37 sub-inspectors, 19 assistant sub-inspectors, 199 senior constables, 245 police constables have been mobilized for VIP security.
Of them, the highest number—111 under the command of a DSP has been deployed at Nirmal Niwas and ex-king Gyanendra Shah. 46 APF staff have been assigned for the security of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli while 48 security personnel under the command of an inspector have been deployed for the security of former PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal by the name of Security Base Camp, Khumaltar. It is equal to the number at a Border Out Post (BOP) of APF for border security.
However, other ex-PMs have been provided with 8 to 21 security staffers which include former PM and Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba (21), another ex-PM and NCP senior leader Jhalanath Khanal (18), Madhav Kumar Nepal, ex-PM and NCP senior leader (15), Lokendra Bahadur Chand, former PM (14), ashram of Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, late ex-PM (8), former PM and Samajbadi Party Chair Dr Baburam Bhattarai (8), and ex-chair of the council of minister Khilaraj Regmi (9).
The work procedure has a provision to provide the Home Minister with 10 and ex HM with 2 security personnel. However, breaching the norms, additional security staff have been utilized as PSO, drivers and assistants.
The list of the former ministers and dignitaries misusing the security facility violating the work procedure is long. The names include Bamdev Gautam, Bhim Rawal, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Janardan Sharma, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Ram Chandra Poudel, Bimalendra Nidhi, Prakash Man Singh, Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Gopal Man Shrestha, Purna Bahadur Khadka, Govinda Raj Joshi, Ram Sharan Mahat, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Amresh Kumar Singha, RPP chair Kamal Thapa, ex-speaker Onsari Gharti, former Home secretaries Shree Kant Regmi and Narayan Gopal Malego, former National Investigation Department chief Devi Ram Sharma, and former IGp Motilal Bohora.
Security personnel have been deployed for the security of residents of former ministers Khum Bahadur Khadka and Madhav Ghimire even after their demise. Similarly, security staffers have been assigned for the security of ex-PM Deuba’s wife Arzoo Deuba and their son Jay Bir Singh Deuba through the cabinet decision.
Similarly, Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokhrel, former deputy PM Sujata Koirala, ex-ministers Bal Krishna Khand, Bishnu Poudel, Agni Sapkota, Bhim Acharya, Jitendra Narayan Dev and Rekha Sharma, joint secretary Harisharan Pudasaini, former attorney general Surya Prasad Koirala, former chief commissioner of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, NCP leader Balram Baskota and religious leader Kamal Nayanacharya are among those receiving driver facility from the government.
The work procedure doesn’t clearly mention how many security personnel should be deployed for the security of former PMs. According to sources, former chief secretaries are also found to have been misappropriating this facility.