KATHMANDU: Following months of delay in joining the Nepali Army, hundreds of UCPN-Maoist’s former fighters billeted at the Nepali Army-commanded cantonments now want to go for voluntary retirement instead of the integration, according to the Secretariat under Special Committee (for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants).
PLAs’ local commanders and individual combatants have been calling the Secretariat’s members over phone expressing their desire to opt for retirement scheme.
Of the 17,076 Maoist combatants surveyed, 13,941 have already opted for voluntary retirement taking home Rs 5 to 8 lakhs, based on their service to People’s Liberation Army. Only six had opted for rehabilitation scheme while 3,129 had shown willingness to join the national army in the course of two rounds of regrouping conducted by the Secretariat. “Due to delay in commencing integration process, along with uncertainty regarding their final selection, hundreds of combatants — who still are billeted in the cantonment — have expressed their desire to retire,” said Balananda Sharma, Coordinator of the Secretariat.
“If we recommence the regrouping process barely 10 per cent of the combatants will opt for integration,” a PLA commander told THT over phone. “They are fed up with government promises and the Maoist leadership.”
Regrouping of the ex-PLAs was concluded in mid-April following a surprise handover of the command and control of the billeted combatants to the Nepali Army on April 8. Since then, nothing substantial, except formation of a selection committee to determine the eligibility of integrating combatants, has been achieved so far.
Integration responsibility was handed over to the Nepali Army with the formation of a selection committee — dominated by NA officers — chaired by Acting Chairperson of Public Service Commission.
Coordinator Sharma said the combatants willing to retire could be sent home once the Nepali Army began final selection process for the integration into the national force.