Some ex-fighters seek to leave NA training

  • • Ranks, family matters, health cited • NA forms probe committee

KATHMANDU, DEC 12 -

A number of ex-Maoist combatants newly recruited by the Nepal Army (NA) have expressed their interest to switch to voluntary retirement.

Around 30 former rebel soldiers have asked the Special Committee Secretariat and the Nepal Army to revise their choice. The Nepal Army started training for 1,442 former fighters, including 70 officer recruits, from November 25.

The recruits cited indecision over ranks, family matters and their health for preferring retirement. Special Committee Secretariat Coordinator Balananda Sharma said that some

fighters had telephoned his office expressing their dissatisfaction at the integration process.

“The Special Committee had decided earlier that combatants would be allowed to change their option only ahead of training. The committee needs to take a new decision if they are to be granted the opportunity to switch,” said Sharma. Of the 1,460 combatants selected by the Nepal Army, 18 opted for retirement before the training commenced.

The Nepal Army, meanwhile, has formed a probe committee to look into the matter. “The committee will investigate the reason behind their desire to leave training,” said Army spokesperson Suresh Sharma. Like the Army’s regular recruits, the ex-combatants too were barred from returning or contacting home for the first three months of training.

More than 50 ex-combatants opting for voluntary retirement have yet to collect the second installment of their cash package. The Special Committee Secretariat had asked the retired

fighters to collect the package by December 10.

Coordinator Sharma said that his office was preparing to wrap up and suggested that Prime Minister and Special Committee Secretariat coordinator Baburam Bhattarai refer any additional tasks to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction. The term of the Special Committee and its secretariat expires on December 15. Prime Minister Bhattarai and Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun are not in favour of extending the term further, claimed a source. However, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is in favour continuing with the Special Committee to avoid any future controversies.

The Nepal Army leadership also expressed the need to continue with the Special Committee as a mechanism to deal with any conflict that may arise during the training period. Such concerns have been conveyed to the PM by the military leadership, according to a Special Committee member.

Govt, unverified fighters cut deal

KATHMANDU: The agitating unverified former Maoist combatants withdrew their protest programme declared last week following a 10-point agreement with the government on Tuesday.

The deal signed by Peace Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and representatives of the Discharged Peoples’ Liberation Army commits to reaching a decision on providing cash package after the Supreme Court delivers its verdict on the case. On November 6, the apex court stayed the government’s move to provide Rs 200,000 to each of the unverified combatants. The agreement pledges initiatives for cash package such as the one provided to over 16,500 retired combatants or unverified combatants. It also vows to issue identity cards to the discharged fighters, payment for medical costs of those with disabilities and injuries, and release of the arrested cadres.

Posted on: 2012-12-12 08:22