Govt gears up against possible poll-related violence

Published On: June 9, 2017 01:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 9: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoFA) has asked the district administrations concerned to take necessary precautions to tackle potential challenges that various political and non-political outfits could pose to the second phase local elections. 

The remaining 41 districts are going to polls in the second phase of local elections slated for June 28. The polls will elect local representatives in 461 local units. 

MoHA officials said they are especially wary about potential threats to poll security in around half a dozen districts of the central and western plains which have been rocked by a series of violent incidents since 2015.

The districts include Saptari, Mohottari, Prasa, Rautahat, Rupandehi and Kailali. Besides being the support base of the agitating parties including Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, these districts are also home to numerous armed outfits and secessionist forces including one led by Jaya Krishna Goit and CK Raut. 

“Though RJPN and other political parties have signaled that they would take part in the polls,  challenges remain. We have directed local administrations to take extra precautions in areas susceptible to violence, to ensure free and fair elections in the districts where we anticipate bigger threats,” said a MoHA official. 

Though security agencies and other stakeholders  already mapped out the potential security challenges before the first phase  local elections, MoHA officials said that there could be some revisions. 

Based on reports gathered from security agencies and local administrations, the government had initially divided the polling zones into three categories: normal, sensitive, extremely sensitive. A total of 1,847 polling zones have been put in the extremely sensitive category, 4,260 zones in sensitive category and the other 5,526  in normal category. 

Three to 11 police personnel will be deployed at each polling booth, depending on its security sensitivity, while Nepal Army personnel will guard the outer periphery of the polling stations. A polling station can have up to six booths.

MoHA spokesperson Bal Krishna Panthi said that over 100,000 security personnel would be deployed in the 41 districts though the number could go up depending on need. 

In view of the approaching polls, Nepal Police is  deploying the majority of its human resources to districts going to polls while filling the security needs of districts which have already voted with Nepal Army personnel and temporary police. 

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