KATHMANDU, Nov 5: Like every year, the cases of confiscation of firecrackers by police have increased with the arrival of Tihar this year. Data maintained by the Police Headquarters, Naxal, shows that the number of firecracker confiscation cases, arrests for smuggling and possessing firecrackers and the number of firecrackers seized during the festive season have doubled over the year.
Last year during the festive season, a total of 19 incidents took place where police officials seized firecrackers and a total of 11 persons were arrested for smuggling or selling firecrackers in the country. This year, however, with Tihar not even started, a total of 34 incidents of firecrackers confiscation have taken place and 21 have been arrested for smuggling or selling firecrackers.
According to Spokesperson for Nepal Police, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Uttam Raj Subedi, the increase in the number of cases of firecracker confiscation is the result of the increase in police vigilance. “We have intensified our vigilance this year,” he said, “Hence, we have seized more illegal crackers.”
SSP Subedi also claimed that the ultimate aim of the police is to ensure that no firecrackers are smuggled into the nation. “We want to make sure that the public gets to celebrate the festivals peacefully. Firecrackers are just a disturbance to the people,” he said, “We ultimately want to stop the smuggling of firecrackers into Nepal.”
He added that for now, the police have been targeting to not let the firecrackers reach their destinations. He claimed that the open border with India makes it difficult to make sure that the firecrackers are not smuggled into the country. “Therefore, we have also prioritized not letting the smuggled firecrackers reach their destinations,” he said.
The data also shows that the number of cases of firecrackers confiscation outside the Kathmandu Valley has seen a sharp rise of 300 percent from last year. There were only four incidents of firecracker confiscation outside the Kathmandu valley in 2017 while the number has reached 16 in 2018 with Tihar not even started.
The police have been making use of various techniques such as increasing security at the border checkpoints, ambushing and sending officials in plain clothes to inspect places where firecrackers are sold in order to catch the smugglers and sellers of firecrackers.