Despite serious objection from the provincial governments, the federal government has brought the security of Kathmandu Valley under the purview of the federal government.
The move will invite and further escalate the ongoing conflict between the federal and provincial governments over the rights given by the constitution as the internal affairs minister of Bagmati Province has said it will knock the door of the Supreme Court.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari issued an ordinance on Nepal Police and Provincial Police (Work Operation, Supervision and Coordination) First Amendment on Monday allowing the federal government to look after the security of the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley.
Once the ordinance comes into effect after it is published in the Gazette the existing Metropolitan Police Office Rani Pokhari will be named Federal Capital Police led by a Deputy Inspector General of Police. Henceforth, the Federal Capital Police will look after the security of the three districts of the Valley.
“All three districts of the Kathmandu Valley will remain under the Nepal Police,” said Thaneswor Gautam, a joint secretary at the Home Ministry. “The integration process of the Nepal Police and the provincial police will begin once the cabinet approves the new organisation and management procedure.”
A delegation of the internal affairs and law minister of Bagmati Province Shalikram Jammarkattel had urged Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa not to change the existing provision allowing the federal government to look after the security of the Capital while other provincial governments were also against the idea.
“As soon as we heard about the ordinance we met the Home Minister and expressed our serious concerns but Thapa has no say in this,” said Jammarkattel. “We will take the issue to the Supreme Court after the integration process of the police force comes into effect.”
According to him, it was Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli who is behind the new ordinance and once the new organisation and management procedure is out things will be clearer regarding integration.
Jammarkattel said the leaders at the federal government have now been regretting allowing the provincial governments to look after security matters while drafting the constitution.
While trying to convince the provincial governments, federal authorities gave examples of different countries but they refused the former’s proposal to allow even the assistant chief district officers to operate under provincial governments, a provision followed by India, according to Jamarkattel.
Experts and observers have taken the move of the federal government as an attempt to derail federalism. “This is an interference in the rights of the rights of the provincial government,” said Khimlal Devkota, an expert on federalism. “The move has attacked the spirit of federalism.”
He said the federal government could have supported provincial governments in maintaining security even while the security fell under the purview of the provinces.
“When the federal government has not allowed even to construct roads how can one expect them to let provinces be in charge of such a sensitive sector,” Devkota asked.