South Asia News
Nepal to recruit 75,000 more police for key election
Jul 10, 2007, 4:15 GMT
Kathmandu - The Nepalese government says it will recruit 75,000 people as temporary police ahead of a key election scheduled for the end of November, local media reports said Tuesday.
The government move came as Nepal's independent election commission expressed serious concerns over the deteriorating law and order situation in southern Nepal.
Home Secretary Umesh Mainali said the government was preparing to recruit 75,000 men and women into the police force to serve temporarily during the constituent assembly election scheduled for November 22, the English language daily Kathmandu Post reported.
The newspaper quoted the home secretary as saying that the additional force would be recruited and trained within the next three months before they were deployed across the country.
There are concerns that the existing 70,000 police would not be enough to provide security at 18,000 polling stations across geographically diverse country.
Some of the polling stations will be located in places that are several days walk from the nearest road link.
Mainali also expressed serious concern over the security situation in 10 district in the southern and south-eastern plains known as Terai, where the ethnic Madhesi People's Right Forum (MPRF) and the separatist Maoist faction Janatantrik Terai Mulkti Morcha (JTMM) are active.
The MPRF is involved in violent protests while the JTMM, a breakaway faction of the Maoist former rebels, are involved in low-level insurgency concentrated mainly in the central and eastern Terai.
The resulting violence has now claimed the lives of over 75 people in the Terai area since the beginning of the year.
However, Mainali said the government will implement special security strategies for the elections. He did not elaborate.
The ethnic Madhesi groups say they are fighting for more seats in the constituent assembly formed after the elections, greater representation in the government and an end to years of discrimination against minorities by ruling groups in Kathmandu.
In February, the Nepalese government announced more seats in elections for Terai areas but the violence and protests have continued, with the MPRF saying it wants guarantees of a federal structure of government.
The MPRF and other agitating groups in Terai have also accused the government of being insincere to meet their demands.
The November election is a key part of the Nepal's peace process that will elect an assembly that will write Nepal's constitution.
The assembly will also vote on whether Nepal remains a monarchy or becomes a republic.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur