Peaceful Nepal? Number of Armed Outfits ‘Goes Down Drastically’

SECURITY UPDATE By Anil Giri

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has claimed that the number of armed outfits operating across the country has significantly come down, thanks to the government’s operations against the groups that were launched nationwide one-and-a-half years ago.

While there were 108 groups earlier, only 26 of them are active now. According to MoHA Joint Secretary Sudhir Shah, who is also in charge of the Peace and Security Division at the ministry, only 10 armed outfits are active in the eastern hilly region while 16 are still operating in the Tarai and Madhes belt.

The revelation was made on Thursday (16 June) evening in a meeting of the Central Security Committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara. The committee comprises top security officials from Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and the National Investigation Department.

“The meeting instructed the security agencies to work vehemently against the remaining outfits,” Shah said. According to him, a massive ‘crackdown’ on the armed outfits will continue. A district level leader of the Akhil Terai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha (Jwala Singh group), Jeevan Tyagi, aka ‘ Indrajeet’, was arrested in Sitamadi in India on Thursday. Process is underway to hand him over to Nepal. “This means we are continuing our efforts to bring down the number of such outfits,” he added.

“Some commanders of these outfits were killed during the operations while others did not dare challenge the government’s drive,” Shah said. According to him, most of the armed outfits were engaged in extorting people. The meeting also decided to launch a crackdown on “a network of small arms traders” and instructed the security agencies to find out their nexus with the outfits. “According to our data, more than 200 small weapons of various categories were confiscated within a year,” Shah said.

The committee also reviewed the political situation and decided to take precautions to avert untoward incidents.

“The joint Madhesi Morcha, a loose alliance of Madhes-based parties, is likely to take to the streets in the Tarai, which could affect the entire nation, including Kathmandu. The meeting instructed the security agencies to take measures to ensure that normal life is not affected. Also, we have some credible intelligence inputs saying that some armed outfits could create trouble in the meantime,” he said.

The meeting also decided to provide additional security to Maoist leaders in the absence of the PLA. It further decided to upgrade security arrangements in the private sector by providing trainings to the private security agencies.

BACKGROUND INFO

Govt has invited armed outfits for talks: Peace Minister

By Kamal Dev Bhattarai
KATHMANDU, MAR 29 – Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Barsha Man Pun said on Tuesday that the government has invited the armed political outfits for talks. He added that some of the outfits operating in Tarai and eastern hill districts have come in contact with the government.

Speaking at a press meet organised at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Minister Pun made it clear that the government would hold dialogue with only the outfits of political nature. He further said that the government would only hold talks with political groups but not the criminal one.

The government informed about its move in the wake latest outbreak of violence with series of blasts reported in various districts—Rautahat, Banke Rupandehi and Kavre—possibly armed outfits.

The minister noted that the dialogue would be kept secret until it bears fruit.

The former government had held talks with 22 groups and forged 24 agreements.

When asked about any progress in the investigation of recent serial blasts in Tarai districts, Pun said it is not under his jurisdiction.

A person was injured and at least 46 others were injured in the consecutive explosions inside moving vehicles over the past four days.

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