JHAPA, Nov 20: Amid increasing attacks on poll candidates, a joint team of Indian and Nepali security personnel has beefed-up security in the eastern border to avoid any kind of untoward incident in the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled for December 7.
Violent attacks on candidates are generating headlines with very few time left for the much-awaited parliamentary and provincial polls. The security agencies are concerned that the open border might be used for anti-election activities leading to the disruption of the polls.
A week ago, security officers of Nepal and India formed a special committee to monitor the activities and movement of people in the border. The team has decided to tighten security until the results of elections are announced. An Indian team of Seema Surakshya Bal (SSB) led by battalion commander Bibek Sharma and a Nepali team of Armed Police Force led by DSP Dinesh Basnet have been deployed in the border amid concerns over safety in the run up to the elections.
"The security challenges of Nepal and India are almost similar. That is why we decided to work together in the border areas," said Indian battalion commander Sharma.
Among all, easy access to arms and ammunition from across the border has been taken as a major threat for the elections. "Jhapa shares 118 km long border with India. So, security must be tightened there," said DSP Basnet. During the local elections too, as many as 48 polling stations were marked highly sensitive in terms of security. For the parliamentary elections, 49 polling stations of the district have been listed as extremely sensitive.
There are altogether 283 polling centers and 693 polling stations in the district.
As informed by Assistant Chief District Officer Bhim Prasad Tiwari, seven security personnel will be deployed in each of the normal polling stations, nine in sensitive and 11 in highly sensitive polling stations.
The main purpose of the joint committee is to create a favorable environment for the elections by reducing the threats and challenges. Jhapa's open border of 118 km extending from Jirmale of IIam to Morang and illegal activities in these areas have always been a headache for the security personnel of both the countries. "These areas have been a safe haven for criminals and there is high threat during elections," said one of the security officers.