Police on high alert after ban on Chand party

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KATHMANDU, March 14: Following the government’s decision to ban the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), security agencies have gone on high alert against possible retaliatory moves from the Maoist splinter group. Police personnel have started intensifying search and arrests across the country to book the cadres of the semi-underground party that has been involved in violence and terrorist activities.

A cabinet meeting on Tuesday decided to place an all-out ban on the Chand-led CPN after that outfit repeatedly snubbed the government’s calls for dialogue.

Spokesperson at Nepal Police headquarters Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Uttam Raj Subedi said a circular has been issued to police across the country to remain on high alert following the government’s decision to ban the Chand-led group. “In some cases, we have issued arrest warrants against the party’s leaders and cadres ,” he told Republica.

Police have taken an aggressive approach to the arrest of top leaders and cadres of the group.

According to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Mahesh Bikram Shah, chief of Provincial Police Office (PPO) in Karnali Province which is considered a stronghold of the party, the government’s decision has helped lift the maximum restraint that police have been exercising so far. “We now take the party cadres and leaders as criminals and their activities as criminal activities,” he said. “We have started district level campaigns to search and arrest the cadres accused of terrorism.”

DIG Shah said those arrested will face action as per existing law . “The Provincial Police Office has given emphasis to the safety of the public,” he said. “We have already mobilized our personnel to ensure public safety.”

Police in most districts in the province sprang into action Tuesday night after the ban came into effect. District Police Office (DPO) Kalikot intensified its action against Chand-led party cadres. According to the DPO, a search operation was conducted after the decision was received by district police.

“We have already identified the major affected areas and are carrying out search operations there,” said chief of the DPO, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Binod Sharma . “As of now, we are sending out long range patrols to restrict their activities.”

Sharma said the DPO has targeted top leaders of the party after the restriction on the group came into effect . “We are looking for 13 individuals who have been accused of involvement in various terrorist activities, and most of them are top leaders of the party,” he said.

DPOs in various districts across the nation that have been affected by the Chand-led party have started a crackdown on its cadres and leaders .

Reports from Dolakha said security has been stepped up under all 23 police sub-units in this district which has borne the brunt of Chand party activities. According to district based police officials, patrols have been stepped up in the streets and at bus parks.

“We have placed our personnel on standby in view of possible retaliatory activities ,” said chief of DPO, Dolakha, DSP Basudev Pathak. He informed that dozens of pain-clothes police have also been mobilized .

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