3,000 cops for polls in Saptari district

ATMM, armed groups pose security threat in six constituencies

Rajbiraj, March 11:

Over 3,000 security personnel are to be deployed in Saptari district to ensure security in the run up to the election to constituent assembly.

“More than 3,000 cops, including those from the Armed Police Force, will be deployed,” Saptari SP Bikram Singh Thapa told this daily.

This figure is much higher than compared to that in Sunsari and Morang districts, where 1,500 security personnel will be deployed.

Saptari is the home district of Jaya Krishna Goit, chairman of the Akhil Tarai Mukti Morcha formerly known as Jantantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha, which has threatened to disrupt the CA election According to SP Thapa, Constituency No 1 and 6 are relatively calm while four others, which largely fall on the southern bordering districts, are infested by armed outfits.

Only today JTMM (Jwala Singh) and newly formed Samyukta Tarai Janakranti Party detonated a bomb and set ablaze the vacated Armed Police Base camp in Patthargada VDC, Saptari, which is in constituency-4.

State Minister for Home Affairs Ram Kumar Chaudhary is contesting from constituency-3.

Sitaram Pokhrel, Chief District Officer of Saptari, believes that as a large number of the sympathisers of armed outfit are also in poll fray, the armed outfits cannot disrupt the polls. “We will set up three more APF bases in one constituency if needed,” CDO Pokhrel said. According to security officers, some of the criminal groups are found kidnapping people for ransom in the name of armed outfits. Only last week Makhan Pokhrel of Rupnagar was kidnapped and later released.

“There are people who are spreading terror in the name of armed outfits,” said Kamal Uddin, Central Member of Nepal Sadbhawan party. “In the past 45 days there were seven cases where the kidnappers turned to be other than armed groups,” SP Thapa said.

Threat by armed groups has adversely affected the work of the election staffers in the district, which has 114 VDCs, the largest number in the country.

“Our employees and volunteers have been educating the people in all the VDCs, they are deprived of wearing the cap, stickers and carrying a hand bag designed to educate the public,” said Saptari’s Returning Officer Ram Narayan Chaudhary. “Cadres of armed groups have threatened the employees not to use such materials across the villages,” he said.

Saptari district has 416,712 eligible voters.