Friday, October 25, 2013

Boykott polls in Nepal - CPN-Maoist calls strike to obstruct Dahal’s poll campaign


DHANKUTA, OCT 24 – Poll opposing parties including the CPN-Maoist have enforced shutdown in Dhankuta to obstruct the pre-scheduled arrival of UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in the district for election campaign. Cadres of the CPN-Maoist had disrupted vehicular movement by falling trees on the Koshi Highway on Wednesday night to disturb Dahal’s entrance to Dhankuta. It is learnt that the Maoist cadres had fell down trees in half a dozen places in Rudrabari, Chyangchyangbari, Dhat and Schooldanda along the Dharan-Dhankuta Road Section. The local administration has cleared the traffic obstruction this morning after mobilizing police on the road section.
However, normal life in Dhankuta has been affected due to strike . The move was taken to not allow the entrance of UCPN (Maoist) chief to Dhankuta, said the CPN-Maoist . The local administration has beefed up the security arrangement by massively mobilising security personnel on different places so as to thwart possible danger in course of his arrival in Dhankuta.

Govt: 10-day Maoist banda a major threat
KATHMANDU, OCT 24 – In its latest security assessment, the government has identified the 10-day nationwide general strike called by the CPN-Maoist as the major security challenge in the run-up to the November 19 polls. The strike supported by the 33-party poll-opposing alliance led by the CPN-Maoist is scheduled to start on November 11. The government has taken the scheduled shutdown seriously and is taking measures to foil the strike and ensure normalcy during the period.
“We have been receiving reports from across the districts that the CPN-Maoist is conducting various kinds of training and orientation of its cadres to disrupt the election,” said a senior security official closely following the day-to-day security situation. In recent weeks, the general strikes called by the CPN-Maoist has had little effect on the daily lives. Still, security officials maintain that in the final days before the polls the shutdown could emerge as a major “spoiler”. They have called for a coordinated approach to ensure normalcy. Sources said the security agencies have charted out an “election-sensitive approach” to ensure normal movement of the people during the general strike, smooth delivery of supplies of essential commodities and building confidence in the general public that they need need not worry about the security situation and that polls will happen at any cost.
Security agencies said they have information that Baidya-led Maoist party has conducted training to party cadres. Some 50-60 cadres will be deployed in each district to ensure the general strike and aim at poll disruption. Security agencies claim that the Baidya party is especially active in the Far West, in the Mid Western districts of Rukum and Rolpa and parts of Eastern Tarai, including Siraha. “The Baidya group poses major security challenges for the polls,” said security analyst Geja Wagle on the phone from Biratnagar.
He is currently travelling a dozen districts in the eastern Nepal to asses the security situation. “In Tarai, open border and accessibility of weapons has emerged as a major security threat,” he added. According to the government officials, the poll-opposing parties are scheduled to stage sporadic disruption ahead of the general strikes as a rehearsal. “They will use these rehearsals as a litmus test of their strength to assess if they can enforce the upcoming the general strike,” said a senior government official. Besides the threat from the poll-opposing parties, the security officials are taking the increasing incidents of clashes among the poll contesting parties as another serious security challenge.
“As election date draws close, communal, caste based and regional tension could escalate,” said the official. Eastern hills, parts of Tarai and and the Mid West are considered “sensitive for caste, communal and regional tension.” Nine Eastern districts—Sankhuwasabha, Terhathum, Dhankuta, Tapl-ejung, Panchthar, Morang, Sunsari and Jhapa—with significant ethnic populations are also seen as possible flashpoints. Clashes among sister wings of parties have escalated in recent days. Equally, some armed outfits present in the Tarai region are also seen as a possible security threat. Of late, security agencies have concluded that temporary police (Myadi) could invite trouble around the poll date as well as on the polling day.
“Particularly in Tarai, open border and free flow of weapons are posing security threats and we are in touch with Indian officials to tighten the border,” said another security official. The possibility of misuse of former Maoist combatants in disruption of polls is also seen as “an important security challenge”. “Although the security deployment seem satisfactory as of now, as the election day draws closer, there could be newer security threats. The government should accordingly chart out its security strategy,” Wagle said.
Challenges facing CA polls
1 Proliferation of small arms
2 Poll disruption by fringe parties
3 Ethnic and communal tensions
4 Armed outfits’ activities
5 Inter-party clashes (youth and student wings)
6 Temporary police
7 Ex-combatants
8 Open border in Tarai

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