EDITORIAL: Provide security

The inability to provide the required security can also be attributed to a large extent to the lack of intelligence and coordination

Security challenges have emerged prior to holding the second phase of parliamentary and provincial elections on December 7. The country had succeeded in holding the local elections after nearly two decades which were relatively peaceful. The first phase of parliamentary and provincial elections held on November 26 also went peacefully. The government should guarantee the holding of elections in a peaceful manner so that the people can exercise their franchise without fear, free and fair manner. At present, a group of unidentified persons have been detonating improvised explosive devices targeting the candidates taking part in the elections in particular and also their residences. Compared to the security situation prior to the holding of elections in the first phase on November 26, the overall security situation has deteriorated in the run to the second phase election. Many people have been injured in explosions some critically. And there are tragic reports of one person dying in Dang from one such blast.

Given the serious threats for holding the polls in a peaceful manner, the failure of the government to provide security on such elections is evident. For instance, there is no home minister who would be largely responsible for holding of peaceful election and dealing with the miscreants bent on foiling the elections. As such, there is already a fear among voters about the security condition of the election and prior to holding them. Had the first phase of the election for the provincial and parliamentary been held entirely peacefully, the participation of the voters in the coming elections would be more encouraging. The voters look for security, among other things, while casting their valuable votes. The government is seen lacking in providing security. Today we are witnessing a rise in political violence. Although the security forces claim that they would reach the affected site where security is violated in a matter of minutes this is not the case.

The security forces are found to be lacking in number and equipment. The law enforcement agencies appear to lack leadership and also the security situation is poorly   managed. The Election Commission has not succeeded in holding elections free from violence. The lack of effective coordination among the security agencies is apparent. The security forces responsible for ensuring the required security have sought to allay the fear of voters. They say that they have been boosting security by increasing patrolling and also the use of sniffer dogs. Security issues are also being discussed with Indian counterparts who have pledged to prevent the smuggling of arms. Despite cooperation and coordination between the bilateral security agencies explosions are continuing in numerous places throughout the country, including the capital city. The inability to provide the required security can also be attributed to a large extent to the lack of intelligence. The present situation calls for the intelligence agencies to work overtime so that those trying to disrupt the polls by using violence are prevented from carrying out their nefarious activities.  The present arrangement for providing security to the voters as well as the candidates has seen to be not working as more incidents of bombings are continuing to increase in an alarming manner.

Rebuilding temples

The Department of Archeology has expedited the reconstruction, renovation and retrofitting of heritage monuments and temples damaged in the April 25 devastating earthquake in 2015. The department has recorded the damage of 753 temples and monuments across the country. Of the damaged temples, 83 have already been reconstructed while 56 others are under reconstruction as part of the multi-year plan. Changu Narayan temple is one  such temple which were reconstructed at the cost of Rs. 30 million at the department’s initiative.

Renovation of Nautale Durbar at Hanumandhoka is underway with support from the Chinese government. However, the Ranipokhari, Kasthmandap and Dharahara, the most iconic monuments of the Kathmandu Valley, have yet to start the reconstruction due to disputes between the KMC and the Department of Archeology and other stakeholders. Such disputes must be resolved at the earliest so that their reconstructions move forward without any further delay. At the same time, the National Reconstruction Authority should also release the required funds for the reconstruction and renovation of temples.