Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha
KATHMANDU: Home Minister Narayankaji Shrestha, also Deputy Prime Minister, disclosed that shots were fired on Friday when Physical Infrastructure and Transport Minister Prakash Jwala’s vehicle was besieged during the Balkumari incident.
Addressing the House of Representatives’ State Affairs and Good Governance Committee, Minister Shrestha detailed the sequence of events leading to the use of force.
According to Minister Shrestha, the police resorted to firing when informed that Minister Prakash Jwala’s car was under siege at the protest site.
He also acknowledged weaknesses in three areas regarding the Balkumari incident that occurred on Friday, resulting in two casualties and physical losses.
The Minister said that the initial conclusion on the incident highlighted the EPS Office Chief’s role was not positive, the failure of the security officials assigned to the Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport in fulfilling their responsibilities, and a weakness on the part of the field commander of the Nepal Police.
He attributed the incident to the negligence of the EPS office, the PSO’s decision to relocate the minister’s vehicle, and the inadequacy of security personnel.
Minister Shrestha criticized the EPS office’s policy of not deploying individuals who failed in shipping to production, emphasizing its negative impact on a significant number of people.
He cited a reported interaction between the head of peace and security at the Ministry of Home Affairs and the EPS head, highlighting concerns about the latter’s dismissive response.
During the parliamentary committee’s inquiry, Minister Shrestha characterized attempting to move the minister’s car away from the protest site as a serious error by the PSO.
He asserted that had Minister Jwala’s car taken a different route, the situation would not have escalated.
Questioning the security protocols, Minister Shrestha pondered why the army’s security guard and PSO did not intervene.
He criticized the PSO’s failure to follow standard procedures, such as checking the path in advance and heeding instructions from the control room.
Detailing the events leading to the firing, Minister Shrestha mentioned that shots were fired after Minister Jwala’s vehicle was besieged.
He noted injuries, including one person shot and another affected by tear gas, while emphasizing the ongoing investigation into the nature of the weapons used.
Responding to the committee’s queries, Minister Shrestha acknowledged a mistake by security personnel, emphasizing that they were instructed not to use force under any circumstances.
Despite the challenging situation, he stressed the Ministry of Home Affairs’ commitment to maintaining peace and security.
Minister Shrestha also expressed the need for a thorough investigation, characterizing the incident as an abnormal case with initial analysis suggesting a systemic weakness that cannot be ignored.