Security inadequate for free, fair polls: NHRC

Kathmandu, March 24:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today stressed on the need to improve security situation to ensure free and fair election to constituent assembly.

Making public the NHRC’s initial nationwide human rights situation assessment report here today, NHRC chairman Kedar Nath Upadhyaya said: “Free and fair election is not possible if security situation does not improve. We want an immediate end to activities like killing of people and thrashing of party cadres. The election would happen successfully only after improving the rights situation,” Upadhyaya added.

The report has also blamed the Maoists for the deteriorating security situation because “they are still beating up opponent candidates and party cadres”.

Upadhyaya said the NHRC plans to hold discussions with the government to find out what can be done to improve the security situation in the country.

“Our assessment in districts from Gorkha to Darchula shows that Maoists were responsible for carrying out most of the violent activities but other political parties have also been engaged in such activities,” chief of NHRC protection department, Yagya Adhikary, said.

Last week NHRC members had visited all five development regions to assess the rights situation.

“Our assessment is that law and order situation is not satisfactory in the country and the human rights situation is also worsening,” NHRC member Ram Nagina Singh said.

“The candidates, political cadres, human rights activists and the election officers are working in a fearful atmosphere,” Singh added.

“The Maoists were found to be intimidating voters, telling them they will find out who they had voted for by using computers, cameras and telescopes and punish them for disobeying,” Adhikary added.

The NHRC also informed the EC that 85,000 election observers and more than 50,000 people working for holding the CA polls are going to be deprived of casting votes.

“The EC, however, told us that it is helpless on this issue because election

law does not have any provision regarding this,” Gauri Pradhan, another NHRC member said.

“We also discussed with the EC several issues regarding voters’ rights, including excluding 8,000 Susta VDC residents of Nawalparasi district from those having rights to cast votes,” he informed.

The NHRC is learnt to have raised the issue with the EC that the political parties did not field 33 per cent women candidates for the election.