As Tihar draws closer, Kathmandu Metropolitan Police (KMP) has issued a directive warning people not to let off explosives and firecrackers during the festive celebrations. As per the directive, the police can right away issue an arrest warrant against any person caught using such explosives, detain them up to a year and slap a penalty of up to Rs 27,000. Over the years, it has become a trend, especially among people in the urban areas, to celebrate festive occasions letting off fireworks, often inviting unpleasant incidents. In some instances, careless use of firecrackers has caused fire, destroyed property, injured people and even taken lives.
Under the existing law, using explosives is a public offence, and an offender is liable to punishment. While children should be discouraged by their guardians from letting off firecrackers during the festival, the directive issued by KMP should be strictly implemented. It is common knowledge that though the police issued similar directives in the past, they hardly deterred people from letting off fireworks. But, sadly, they chose selective punishment. Even more surprising is the fact that, often, confiscated firecrackers instead of being destroyed reach the hands of children and relatives of law-enforcement officials. This should not happen again.