Govt yet to identify anti-poll forces

November 18, 2017 07:40 AM Ashok Dahal


KATHMANDU, Nov 18: Even after repeated incidents of violent attacks on the election campaigns of senior political leaders including government ministers, the government is yet to identify those involved in the attacks. 

Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party Nepal (CPN) is reportedly involved in such activities but neither the government nor the party has  officially confirmed the latter’s involvement in the ambushing of campaign  vehicles  and firing at the poll candidates. Home Ministry spokesperson Narayan Duwadi and Nepal Police spokesperson Manoj Neupane both said that the forces involved in the anti-poll activities are yet to be identified. 

Republica has received a circular of the Chand-led CPN instructing its party rank and file to  disrupt election-related activities. But none of the senior leaders of the party was available for comment. 
“Home Ministry has alerted all security agencies to  monitor, control and foil the anti-poll activities. As many as 175 individuals involved in such activities have been arrested as of Friday,” said Home Ministry spokesperson Duwadi.  Asked about CPN’s alleged involvement, he said the ministry has taken those arrested as individuals belonging to anti-poll groups rather than as party cadres. 

Police spokesman Neupane claimed that the identity of those involved in the anti-poll activities is still under investigation. “Police have been conducting intense investigations into the anti-poll  activities. We will make the findings public soon,” he said. 

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has taken charge of the Home Ministry himself after  removing the Maoist ministers from their portfolios last month. But Deuba hasn’t paid much attention to the ministry’s  work even as a  security crisis is developing in the lead up to the key polls. 

Explosions have been set off  targeting former finance ministers Ram Sharan Mahat in Nuwakot and Barshaman Pun in Rolpa, minister without portfolio Janardan Sharma in Rukum, Irrigation State Minister Amar Singh Pun in Rolpa and former communications minister Sher Dhan Rai in Bhojpur, all within a week’s period. An explosion took place Thursday in Baglung near a mass gathering of the left alliance attended by CPN-UML Chairman K P Oli and CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. 

Three NC cadres were injured and a campaign vehicle destroyed in an ambush in Nuwakot Friday. The Election Commission (EC) has demanded security for  the election campaigns and  candidates, drawing the attention of the government to the increasing violence. Also, the alliance of left political parties has demanded a fear-free environment for the elections. 

“We have instructed  security officials in all the districts to remain in close contact with the candidates and escort their poll campaigns. We will take prompt actions against anyone involved in  anti-poll activities,” said Duwadi of the Home Ministry. 

Chand’s secret circular to avoid human casualties
Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN has instructed its party rank and file to physically disrupt  poll-related activities but not to cause any human casualties. According to the party’s secret circular obtained by Republica, the party has directed the party organization to prepare plans to foil the polls and report back to the party immediately. “Our party comrades should resort to small and medium scale physical action in a  responsible fashion but avoid causing human casualties,” reads the circular dispatched earlier this month. 

The party has instructed  rank and file about the decision to continue the physical action until November 25, a day before the polls in 32 hill districts. The circular further states that the party has decided to protest against the parliamentary polls in line with its stance against the parliamentary system of governance.

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