Cowardly act

Dec 6, 2017
At least 11 people, including Nepali Congress leader Gagan Kumar Thapa, who is contesting the parliamentary election from Kathmandu Constituency-4 were injured when an explosive went off at Chapali where the NC candidate was canvassing before the 48 hour silence period that began on Monday midnight. There have been a series of bomb explosions across the country on the run up to the second phase of parliamentary election scheduled for December 7. Nobody has owned up the responsibility of such cowardly acts though the Home Ministry has claimed that it was the act of the Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN-Maoist which is the only political outfit that has boycotted the parliamentary election. The Home Ministry has said that the law enforcement agency has arrested a number of people involved in violent acts which have so far claimed the life of a temporary policeman in Dang a week ago and even a NC candidate in Udaypur was seriously wounded. The Home Ministry’s claim that all security arrangements have been kept in place to ensure peaceful election seems to be far from reality as such explosions have occurred even in the Kathmandu Valley where presence of the security personnel is very thick.
On the other hand, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav has claimed that the security arrangements made by the government is satisfactory, and he has called upon the voters to exercise their franchise “without any fear”. How can the voters and general people be assured that the elections will be held in a peaceful manner when the security agencies have not been able to display their institutional capacity when it comes to dealing with the security threats on the run up to the elections? Security experts, including the retired police officials, have blamed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for security lapses as he himself handled the home portfolio, and he could not give enough time to oversee the Home Ministry. He should have appointed someone else as Home Minister during the election time. Even though he did not do so, the Home Ministry and its security wings should have worked effectively to alley any fears that have gripped the public.
The second phase of parliamentary and provincial elections is being held in 45 districts to elect 128 members of the House of Representatives and 256 members of the provincial assemblies. All these districts are considered to be easily accessible by air or land routes and a large number of security personnel, including Nepali Army, have been mobilized in every nook and corner of all constituencies. But the dastardly act of violence has taken place to deter the people from taking part in the election process which will help implement the new constitution adopted on September 20, 2015. The government must tell the public why the security agencies have not been able to control such violence. It should also assure the public, by action, that the December 7 election will pass off peacefully. Peaceful election is the only way to strengthen democracy. Any election held amidst fear, intimidation or threats will lose its credibility. To alley all these fears the government must act promptly.
The Himalayan Times, December 6, 2017

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