APF recruitment drive annoys Maoists

Itahari, October 10:

The Armed Police Force (APF) has started filling up vacant posts by inviting applications from all over the country, prompting swift reaction from the Maoists who said the move was a violation of the ceasefire code of conduct. The APF plans to recruit 500 men in the country this year, a police official said. The DIGP at the eastern regional headquarters, Sanat Bahadur Basnet, said many young people have applied for the posts in all the five regional headquarters.

Basnet added that 911 youths have applied in the eastern regional headquarters till today. He added that the applications were invited in a notice issued on September 8. Today was the last date for accepting the applications. Meanwhile, district-based Maoist leaders expressed

concern over the recruitment drive by the APF. Maoists’ Sunsari district secretary, Rojina, said the recruitment was against the ceasefire code of conduct signed between the government and the Maoists. “The recruitment drive shows that the government is not sincere towards the peace talks,” Rojina said, adding that such an activity could affect elections to a constituent assembly.

However, DIGP Basnet said the force is mainly trying to fill up vacant posts and not recruiting new men. The new personnel would fill up posts that have fallen vacant following the deaths and retirement of policemen. Some posts have also fallen vacant after police personnel deserted the force, Basnet said, adding that the recruitment drive has so far not affected the ongoing peace talks.

The Maoists are displaying their weapons in different public places, but armed police personnel have not done so anywhere in the country, Basnet added. “Aren’t Maoists violating the ceasefire code by setting up check posts along highways, exhibiting weapons and seizing schools?,” Basnet queried. Coordinator of Human Rights and Civil Monitoring Committee (Sunsari), Ram Koirala, said he saw no reason why someone should object to the APF filling up the vacant posts.