KATHMANDU, June 26: Nepal-India border in all districts adjoining India except for those in Province 2 have been closed for at least 48 hours ahead of the second phase local elections scheduled for June 28.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the border points in these districts have been closed to prevent possible infiltration of unwanted elements. "Local administrations in the concerned districts have decided to seal the border at least 48 hours to 72 hours ahead of the polls as per the security assessment," said Home Ministry spokesperson joint secretary Dipak Kafle.
The decision to close the Nepal-India border and beef up security along the border was made during the meeting of chief district officers of the districts concerned and Indian officials of the bordering districts.
Altogether 22 districts border India. Borders of all districts except for the eight districts of Province 2 namely Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa have been closed for the elections.
Kafle said the Home Ministry has made effective security arrangement for the polls in all the districts that are observing the second phase of the local elections. "Except for a few sporadic incidents, election preparations are going on very smoothly. We have made special arrangements to ensure immediate police response in case of any untoward incident," he said.
On Sunday, an unidentified group that is opposed to election had detonated home-made bomb targeting a vehicle carrying Maoist cadres in Nawalparasi district. Five people were injured when the group threw the bomb at a bus (Lu 1 kha 6773) which was traveling for an election campaign in Sunwal Municipality-2, Somnath of the district.
Terms of temporary police extended by 15 days
The government has extended the tenure of temporary police for the third time, extending their term to 90 days in total.
The Home Ministry had appointed a total of 75,000 temporary police personnel for poll security ahead of the first phase of the local level election held on May 14.
Initially, the government had appointed them for 55 days. As the government decided to hold the polls in two phases -- May 14 and June 14, the government decided to extend their terms for another 20 days.
The government decided to extend their term for additional 15 days as the poll scheduled for June 14 was again rescheduled for June 28. "Temporary police personnel will now be working for a total of 90 days," said Home Ministry spokesperson Kafle.
Altogether 163,000 security personnel including those from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, Nepal Army and National Investigation Department (NID) are being deployed in the second phase of the election. The government has made four-tier security arrangement at the the polling stations.
President authorizes army deployment for polls
President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Sunday approved deployment of Nepal Army personnel for the June 28 elections.
President Bhandari granted the approval as per Article 66 (2) of the Constitution of Nepal. A cabinet meeting held on June 22 had decided to mobilize the army in the election.