A majority of Nepal Police and Armed Police Force (APF) posts in Rautahat, Mahottari, and Saptari districts have been vacated after seven officers were lynched during the protest organized by the Tharuhat Struggle Committee in Tikapur, Kailali, on Monday.
The officers stationed at security posts located in far-flung areas of the three districts have either returned to their nearest area offices or their local headquarters.
In Rautahat, the Nepal Police personnel guarding 20 posts in different parts of the district have reported back to their nearby area offices and the District Police Officer (DPO). The APF has also vacated one of its bases. Such measures were taken after arson attempts were made on some of the security posts.
“Since the government has declared the district as a riot-affected zone no one can stage protests at the district headquarters. The protests will now fan out to village areas which means the police posts where less security personnels were stationed will not be safe,” Superintendent of Police Pradhyumna Karki said.
Chief District Officer Madan Bhujel said the regrouping of security personnel was also aimed at strengthening the area police offices.”Once the situation returns to normal, we will redeploy the officers to their previous stations,” Bhujel said.
Police personnel stationed at more than a dozen security posts in Saptari district have also reported back to their nearest area offices and the DPO, considering the growing incidence of violent protests organized by Madhesi Morcha, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Sishir Karmacharya.
Meanwhile, the APF has regrouped its personnel deployed at its security bases in places like Jhalhi, Hanumannagar, and Boriya.
In Mahottari, the officers deployed at six APF highway security units have also vacated their posts. Meanwhile, the vacant APF posts at Mathihani and Bakhadi were set on fire by unidentified groups. Meanwhile, the decision of the security agencies to pull out their officers from the security posts in rural areas has raised safety concerns among the locals.
Deputy Inspector General Kamal Singh Bam, also the spokesperson of Nepal Police, said the decision was taken purely for safety reasons since a typical police post is manned by not more than five officers. “But the local people need not worry because we will continue to patrol the areas,” he said.
APF Spokesperson Pushpa Ram KC also assured that the locals’ safety will not be compromised as they will be working together with the Nepal Police to patrol the neighborhoods.