Activists injured in Bara Protest

KATHMANDU, March 13: A clash erupted between police and women demonstrators, who were demanding death penalty for the rapist of a seven-year-old child in Kalaiya, Bara today.

Police today arrested 17 persons for smoking in public places and handed them over to Kathmandu District Administration Office.

DSP Dinesh Acharya, Spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Range, Hanumandhoka, said the 17 persons were arrested at Basantapur, New Road and other areas of the capital for smoking in public places. “We detained and referred them to the DAO,” said DSP Acharya, adding that the action was aimed at sending a message that smoking in public places is illegal.The Tobacco Product (Control and Regulatory) Act-2011 bars smoking in public places. But nonetheless, there has been weak enforcement of the law so far. Some four years ago police had started cracking down on those smoking in public places, but the move had fizzled out. Police had briefly detained more than 2,000 persons in Kathmandu in June-July of 2012 for smoking in public places. They were freed after drawing their attention to the law. They were not handed over to the DAO then.Kathmandu Chief District Officer Ek Narayan Aryal said all the 17 persons were released after they agreed in writing not to repeat the offence.

“Police have maintained records of offenders. If they are caught smoking in public places again, they will be punished with a fine of Rs 100,” he said.

The anti-smoking law has categorised government offices, corporations, educational institutions, parks, libraries, airports, public vehicles, orphanages, childcare centres, cinema halls, homes for the elderly, cultural centres, children’s gardens, hotels, restaurants, resorts, girls and boys’ hostels, department stores, religious sites and industries as public places where smoking is not allowed. The law also prohibits sale and distribution of tobacco-related products in these areas. According to the law, which took effect in August 2011, any individual or firm breaching the law is liable to pay a fine of Rs 100 to Rs 100,000 depending on the nature of violation.

According to the National Demographic Health Survey, 2011, in Nepal, 52 per cent male and 13.3 per cent female belonging to age group of 15-49 use tobacco products. –