Govt making efforts to maintain law and order: DPM Gautam

KATHMANDU: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bamdev Gautam said that the government was making efforts to protect the life and property of public by strengthening peace and security amid spates of violent protests.

The agreement on six-province model that the four major parties made along with the tentative demarcation of provincial boundaries has sparked the protests in various parts of the country.

Speaking at the State Affairs Committee of the Legislature Parliament, DPM Gautam claimed that some forces were hell bent on foiling the constitution drafting process. According to him, they were trying to form a parallel government and another constitution after promulgation of the new constitution.

"It has been seen that the power challenging country's sovereignty and integration has been hatching plot to create violence. We are working as per the law and within the boundary of Home Ministry in course of maintaining peace and security and we will not run from the responsibility," he said.

DPM Gautam said there is a provision in the law and fundamental rights that anybody can wage agitation and protest programme, but there was no right to launch agitation hampering others and snatching others' rights. "It is the responsibility of the government to open highways as it belongs to all, not only the locals," he said.

The Home Minister said that there was no discrimination on the basis of caste and gender while bringing demonstrators under  control by police.

Committee members stressed that the government should not arrest those who demonstrate putting forth genuine demands.

Stating that the agitators should not do anything that puts peace in peril, the members of the Committee argued that the government should also not use force upon the public demonstrating in peaceful manner and pressing for valid demands.

Suggesting that the State Affairs Committee should also help the government in maintaining law and peace in the country, they suggested the government to further probe into the audios of the some lawmakers where they were recorded of expressing anti-national opinions in the public.

Recalling the past incident when the DPM Gautam was manhandled by police when he was trying to cross the prohibited area during the democratic movement, Gautam clarified that police used force just to control the rally led by former Home Minister and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal Chairperson Kamal Thapa when they were entering the Constitutional Assembly building.

Responding to the lawmakers' query regarding the amendment of Armed Police Force (APF) Regulation, Gautam said that since the State Affairs Committee had already directed to make amendment in the Regulation, it was appropriate to issue a new directive examining whether it abides by the law or not.

According to the new Regulation, APF has been mandated to arrests the alleged culprit under the suspicion circumstances.

Expressing dissenting voice over the amendment of the APF Regulation, lawmakers Ishwori Neupane, Jayanta Chand, Mahendra Shrestha and Lokmani Dhakal among others stated that the government amended the Regulations against the State Affairs Committee directive.

On Monday's meeting of the Legislature-Parliament, some lawmakers submitted the audio records of few lawmakers' controversial anti-national remarks made in public programmes to Speaker Subas Nembang.

Speaker Nembang has sent those audios to the State Affairs Committee for further investigation.