Anti-amendment protest

Security agencies on the alert for possible clashes

Published On: December 3, 2016 12:30 AM NPT By: Kamal Pariyar

KATHMANDU, Dec 3: Keeping in view of the growing grievances of the public over the constitution amendment bill that might spur clashes, the Ministry of Home Affairs has warned security agencies to remain alert about the possible repetition of the Tikapur incident of last year that left eight people dead. The ministry has also instructed the security forces to avoid excessive use of force to control mob. 

Anti-amendment protests have been rife in different parts of the country since the bill was registered in the parliament recently. According to sources at the home ministry, the ministry has circulated special instructions to the security agencies -- Nepal Police, Armed Police Force (APF) and National Intelligence Department (NID) -- to remain alert about possible clashes so that the Tikapur incident won't be repeated again. 

“We have learnt lessons from every incident that happened in the past and have designed strategies accordingly to minimize the loss of lives and properties,” Home Ministry Spokesperson Bal Krishna Panthi said. “We are careful not to let any untoward incident take place,” the joint-secretary added. 

On August 24, 2015 violent clashes between the protestors and security agencies in Tikapur of Kailali district had resulted in brutal killing of seven Nepal Police staff including a senior police officer and a two-year-old toddler. The carnage took place because of the failure of security forces to make actual threat assessment beforehand as tensions were brewing following an agreement on the number and border of new provinces and the tussle between Akhanda Sudur Paschimanchal side and the Tharuhat Swayatta Pradesh regarding the issue. Miscommunication among the security agencies was another reason for the fatalities among the police. 

Similarly, the internal assessment of the security agencies had also reported to their higher authorities back then that they were compelled to use excessive force as a last resort in lack of adequate measures, including water canons, tear-gas shells among others, to control the riot in the Tarai districts. 

Of late, security officials are cautious about protestors attending mass gatherings in Butwal, Rupandehi.  

“Frequent discussions among the security authorities is taking place and they have been instructed not to use excessive force,” said DIG Hemant Malla, spokesperson of Nepal Police. 

Earlier, the security agencies had jointly carried out rehearsals to control the mob following security assessment that warned the situation might go out of hand in Province 2 and Province 5 if precautionary measures were not taken in time. The security agencies had also alerted government bodies about the possible infiltration by criminal and armed groups. 

“As of Friday, the protests have remained peaceful and under control of political leaders,” DIG Malla said. 

Local political leaders have also appealed all to exercise restraint and not to provoke the situation during the protest programs. A special desk has been established at the Ministry of Home Affairs to monitor the activities and act accordingly in the presence of high-level officials from security agencies.

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