KATHMANDU, June 29: Security experts have expressed fears that the prolonged lockdown and restriction measures put in place to contain COVID-19 without any support to ease the life of ordinary people could soon push the country toward a state of social unrest.
The security experts, who served in different capacities with various security agencies, argued that the country could witness a situation where there is a perception among the people that the government was not performing well and that it had failed to provide any tangible support even as they passed through the most difficult period in their lives.
Addressing a program organized by Nepal Center for Security Governance (NCSG) in the capital, they expressed fear that returnee migrant workers, farmers and youth may start agitation demanding food security and employment if the government failed to act well in advance to help meet those demands. They further concluded that people are losing their trust in the government as they feel alienated by the existing mechanism.
In the roundtable discussion program organized to discuss the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the security sector and the ways to address them, they also noted the possibility of some farmers resorting to opium farming and other quick income sources, if no appropriate recovery package is brought for them.
In addition to the senior officials representing Nepali Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force, policy makers, human rights activists and research scholars also participated in the event. They argued that the COVID-19 situation could get further worse as government mechanisms in Nepal have largely displayed negligence and incompetence when it comes to tackling this pandemic.
They concluded that the lack of proper assessment of physical and mental well-being of health professionals before their deployment was the main reason behind their underperformance. They also drew attention of the government to take necessary initiative to improve the condition of quarantine facilities as they are becoming potential hotspots for diseases.