Government prepares security plan for by-polls

Kathmandu, November 1

The Ministry of Home Affairs today said the government had chalked out a security plan to ensure free, fair and fearless environment for the upcoming by-elections.

A meeting was held at the MoHA to discuss security arrangements for the by-elections scheduled for November 30. Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai, Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal, Inspector General of Armed Police Force Shailendra Khanal, Chief of National Investigation Department Ganesh Adhikari, Lieutenant General of Nepali Army Gaurav Tandul and other high-ranking officials were present at the meeting, said a MoHA source.

The security plan was outlined for integrated mobilisation of NA, Nepal Police, APF and NID. As per the security plan, the security agencies will carry out pre-election, election and post-election security operations. The security plan will be in place until the victory rally of the political parties after announcement of the final results of the by-elections.

During the meet, Thapa directed security agencies to further strengthen the security plan on the basis of security sensitivity and experience of past elections, besides telling them to complete all preparations to conduct the polls in a peaceful environment. The sources said the MoHA had yet to estimate the number of security personnel to be deployed for by-elections. No temporary cops will be deployed during the by-elections. The number of security personnel manning the polling station will depend on the area and population. Nepal Police has been given the responsibility of a first responder if any untoward incident takes place.

The by-elections will be conducted for one member of the House of Representatives, three provincial assembly members and 48 chiefs, deputy chiefs and ward chairs of local levels in 43 districts. The posts of office bearers had fallen vacant due to death, promotion, resignation and imprisonment of elected representatives.

Nepal Police will be deployed inside the polling centres while Armed Police Force and Nepali Army will man the second and the outermost rings respectively, said the source. Security agencies have classified constituencies and polling centres into ‘highly sensitive’, ‘sensitive’ and ‘normal’ considering the security threat. The source said there was no specific information that suggested a threat to by-elections, but added that security personnel would remain vigilant to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections. However, Netra Birkram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal could pose security threat to the by-elections at some places. Security forces deployed for poll security have been authorised to open fire on any person or group resorting to violence.