Kathmandu, May 14
Foolproof security arrangements have been put in place in the Kathmandu Valley with special focus on Singha Durbar and adjoining areas, ahead of the Federal Alliance’s protest programmes scheduled for tomorrow.
The alliance of 30 parties, including constituents of the United Democratic Madhesi Front, will stage a mass rally and protest under their “Let’s go to Kathmandu and encircle Singh Durbar” programme to exert pressure on the government to address their demands. The disgruntled Madhesi parties had announced Kathmandu-centric protest demanding that the constitution be rewritten.
A high-level police official said security was stepped up, with cops, both in civvies and uniform, manning all the entry and exit points of the city in addition to vital installations and sensitive zones to prevent any untoward incidents.
Security agencies have assessed that the alliance was trying to internationalise Madhes issues by picketing the administrative headquarters of the government after their months-long Madhes-based agitation failed to yield any desirable result.
The official informed that thousands of the alliance’s cadres have arrived in Kathmandu from the southern plains, mainly Parsa, Rautahat, Bara, Siraha, Janakpur, Mahottari and Sarlahi districts to picket Singha Durbar.
Nepal Police Headquarters has directed the Metropolitan Police Office to exercise maximum restraint and use minimum force to maintain law and order. However, police fear infiltration of criminal elements into the alliance’s protest rally. “For this, we have beefed up vigilance to ward off potential threats,” said the official. More than 5,000 personnel from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department will be deployed in response to the protest, he informed.
Check-points have been set-up to carry out frisking of vehicles to foil any attempt by suspects to bring in Kathmandu weapons or explosives. However, no one was taken into preventive detention. Police said if the protesters resort to violence, the riot cops will persuade them to maintain clam before using batons, teargas, water cannon and firing in the air as per necessity to maintain peace and order.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission said it would monitor the protest programmes. The NHRC had held separate discussions with local administration, police, agitating parties and human rights activists yesterday and urged them to respect principles of human rights as provisioned in various and international laws including the constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights during the protests.
Rally taken out
KATHMANDU: The Federal Alliance on Saturday took out a rally in Kathmandu to protest against the ‘discriminatory provisions of the new constitution’.The rally, which began from Shanti Batika converged into a corner meeting at Thamel after passing through New Road and Indra Chowk. Federal Alliance leaders Upendra Yadav, Mahendra Ray Yadav, Anil Kumar Jha, Sharat Singh Bhandari, Manish Kumar Suman, Kumar Lingden and Parshuram Tamang addressed the protesters urging them to make tomorrow’s protests programmes around Singha Durbar a success. Suman said the alliance expected 30,000 to 40,000 people to take part in the protests around Singha Durbar.
A version of this article appears in print on May 15, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.