EC seeks security stratagy for second phase polls

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Nov 30, 2017-The Election Commission (EC) has asked the security agencies to come up with a security strategy for the second phase of federal parliament and provincial assembly elections in a meeting of High Level Election Security Committee scheduled for Friday.

Explosions targeting the candidates and their campaigns have continued unabated and become more violent in the run-up to the December 7 second phase polls. 

Binod Chaudhary, a temporary police personnel deployed for elections security, died during treatment in Nepalgunj after being injured in Tuesday’s explosion at a campaign addressed by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in Dang. 

In another incident on Wednesday, Narayan Bahdur Karki , a Nepali Congress (NC) candidate for federal elections from Udayapur constituency-2, and his three associates were seriously injured when their election vehicle was ambushed by unknown perpetrators.

“The recent spate of attacks targetting the election rallies have raised our concern about the election security. We have urged the security agencies to come up with a necessary strategy to stop them,” said Election Commissioner Sudhir Shah, who also chairs the High Level Election Security Committee. 

Despite incidents of attacks and violence, the first phase of elections were held largely peacefully on November 26 in 32 districts. 

The second phase of elections are being held in remaining 45 districts, where there are 79 per cent of total voters. 

Security agencies have more space and more population to secure for the second phase elections. 

With the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) being suspected for behind the attacks on election rallies, Shah said the party has also been identified as a main threat to the election security.

Police has already detained more than 400 cadres of CPN, but the incidents of attacks on election rallies and candidates have not stopped.

Shah said that the other elements that could compromise the election security were secessionist groups and armed outfits in the Tarai.

Despite the increase in anti-election activities and violence, the government 

has been claiming that  there is an effective and sufficient security measures in place.  

Some Home Ministry officials feel that the lack of Home Minister has seriously affected security enforcement across the country.

“Due to the lack of Home Minister, we are facing difficulties to hold the meetings of Central Security Committee and take other decisions,” a ministry official said. 

This issue also figured prominently at the meeting of National Security Council a few days ago, where top security officials had pointed out that holding regular meeting was difficult in the absence of dedicated Home Minister. In response, PM Deuba, who is also looking after the Home portfolio, had assured to be available round the clock to discuss security-related issues. 

For the second phase polls, the government has planned to mobilise security personnel prioritising eight districts in Province 2 considered the most sensitive security wise.

The government’s initial estimates suggest that 29 per cent of the total security forces will be deployed in Bara, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Parsa, Rautahat, Saptari, Sarlahi and Siraha districts. 

It plans to deploy 218,000 security personnel for the second phase of elections. Around 20 per cent of the constituencies fall in these eight districts.  

Published: 30-11-2017 08:12

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