As the security situation in Tarai improves following the end of border blockade and general strike, security forces are scaling back thousands of additional personnel deployed in the plains during the height of the unrest.
At least 4,000 police officials, who were part of the surge to contain violent protests in the region in the run-up to the promulgation of the constitution in September, have been sent back to their respective duty stations as protests fizzled out, according to Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force.
“They have been sent to their respective sanctioned positions,” said Yadav Prasad Koirala, spokesperson for the Home Ministry. “Our assessment is a reduced security threat.”
As the protests grew violent in the Tarai in early September, over 12,000 Nepal Police personnel were deployed in nine “highly sensitive” districts–Sunsari, Siraha and Saptari in the East and Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa in the central region. During normal times, each of these sensitive districts had an average deployment of about 800 Nepal Police members.
When the protests peaked, each sensitive Tarai district saw an average deployment of 1,400 personnel. “The additional force was prepared by drawing personnel from hilly regions and the police headquarters,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity as he was sharing sensitive operational details.
The Armed Police Force had also gathered its personnel from other districts and the APF headquarters
to support Nepal Police on the ground. In each district, the APF had added around 200 personnel to its existing force. It was during this time of the Madhes Movement that the rights groups criticised the government for using excessive force in which over 50 people were killed.
The Nepal Police HQ has recalled 350 personnel from the ground. The APF has also recalled more than 200 personnel to its headquarters.
Police posts reinstated, highways normal
Nepal Police has started works to reinstate its check-posts that were displaced during the Tarai unrest. In Siraha and Saptari districts, some 18 police posts are being re-established. The process will be over by next month, said chief of the Eastern Regional Police Office DIG Keshari Raj Ghimire.
After the Kailali incident in August last year where seven policemen were lynched by an agitated mob, a majority of Nepal Police and APF posts in Rautahat, Mahottari and Saptari districts were evacuated fearing the safety of those manning them.
Regional police chiefs confirm that highway obstruction by protesters is over and vehicles are moving without security escort. Also, the supply of goods from India has increased.
During the stir, vehicles from the eastern districts were stopped at Itahari in Sunsari before they were escorted up to Dhanusha after 10pm. Beyond there, police from the central region took charge of escorting passenger and private vehicles further.
Source: The Kathmandu Post