Nepal | December 07, 2019

Govt told to take custody of licensed arms

All weapons to be deposited at the nearest police station

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, November 12

The Election Commission has issued 19-point directive to the government, requesting it to ensure that by-elections scheduled for November 30 are conducted in a free, fair and peaceful environment.

The poll panel urged the government to prohibit people to carry explosives, toxic substances, batons, spears, khukuris, rifles, pistols and other weapons. According to the EC, the concerned district administration officers will impose such ban to prevent any untoward incidents during the by-elections. The DAOs will initiate necessary action to keep licensed firearms in their custody until the by-elections are over. The directive requires the DAOs to request all licence holders to compulsorily submit their weapons to the local administration or the nearest police office as soon as possible.

Anyone who does not abide by this order will be liable to legal action. The firearms will be returned to the concerned licence holders after the by-elections are over. Police have been authorised to reach out to the concerned persons to collect licensed firearms and initiate action against them if they are not submitted voluntarily.

Failure to surrender registered firearms shall be considered disobedience to the state and will be dealt with accordingly. Ministry of Home Affairs has issued around 34,000 licensed firearms to various individuals and organisations through DAOs across the country for the security of their lives and property. The government has also been told to impose ban on production, sale and distribution of unlicensed liquor.

The EC has also urged the government to take action against those who violate the by-elections code of conduct and inform the district monitoring committee about the punishment handed down to the violators.

“The EC requests the government to ensure that the security and civil personnel assigned for by-elections perform their duties and responsibility in professional manner,” the poll panel said.

The by-elections will be held for 52 vacant posts of people’s representatives — one member of the House of Representatives, three provincial assembly members and 48 chiefs, deputy chiefs and ward chairs at local levels. Nominations of candidates for by-elections of local levels will be held tomorrow. The EC has already published final list of 64 candidates contesting the upcoming by-elections.

The MoHA has devised a special security plan for the by-elections. 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. Constituencies and polling centres have been classified as ‘highly sensitive’, ‘sensitive’ and ‘normal’, considering security threats.

A version of this article appears in print on November 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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