Thakur Singh Tharu, Manoj Paudel, Nepalgunj / Kapilvastu, The Kathmandu Post, 6 Dec 2017
More than 40,000 security personnel have been deployed for the second phase of federal parliamentary and provincial assembly elections in Province 5.
Security has been heightened in the province to check unlawful activities during the polls. After a spike in anti-poll activities, forces are responding to security threats. AIG Madhu Pudasaine of the provincial police office in Tulsipur said around 40,000 members of the Nepal Army, Nepal Police, the Armed Police Force and temporary police are mobilised for Thursday’s polls.
“We have implemented a special security strategy to prevent violent activities during the polls,” said AIG Pudasaine, adding that personnel are deployed also at border crossings to control unlawful activities. Security personnel from Nepal and India have started joint patrols along the international border.
Army and APF members have been frisking people in sensitive areas. Police have already detained 138 people in the province, alleging their involvement in anti-poll activities. Checkpoints have been established at various places to control anti-poll activities.
The federal parliamentary and provincial assembly elections will be held in 10 districts—Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Pyuthan, Kapilvastu, Arghakhanchi, Palpa, Gulmi, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi (East)—of Province 5 on Thursday. There are 1,501 polling stations and 3,166 centres in Province 5. Polls in Rolpa and Rukum (East) were held on November 26.
Security upped in Kapilvastu
Security personnel have been conducting “surprise checks” in parts of Kapilvastu for the past three days. Sniffer dogs are seen at Nepal-India border points. Officials of the National Investigation Department are also mobilised in sensitive areas. Chief District Officer Madan Bhujel said 5,341 security personnel are on the ground. The District Security Committee has identified 153 polling stations as “highly sensitive” and 65 as “sensitive”.
Held up at border
Hundreds of Nepali migrant workers, who are returning home for election, have been stranded at Nepal-India border points after the crossings were shut for 72 hours until polling is over on Thursday. People said Indian security personnel did not allow them into Nepal from the Sunauli border. Guru Paudel of Parasi said he found the border shut to him. “There are many Nepali migrant workers stranded in Sunauli,” Paudel told the Post over phone. Chief District Officer Udaya Bahadur Rana, however, said authorities were allowing Nepalis in after enquiry.
18 polling stations ‘highly sensitive’
The District Security Committee has identified 18 polling stations in Kavre as “highly sensitive”. There are 89 polling stations in the district. SP Sahakul Bahadur Thapa said around 3,400 personnel have been deployed in the district for security around Thursday’s vote.
Birgunj on high alert
A tight security arrangement is in place along the Nepal-India border in Birgunj ahead of Thursday’s elections. Police are using sniffer dogs to check people and their belongings at the border crossings since last week. Voter ID distribution is ongoing, said Chief Election Officer Nagendra Lal Karna. There are 351 polling centres in Parsa district.
(With inputs from our district correspondents)