ARMY INTEGRATION ROW: Merger possible sans NC: Gurung

Lekhnath, November 5:

Minister for Law, Justice and Constituent Assembly Affairs Dev Gurung today said the integration of the Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army would go on irrespective of whether the Nepali Congress joins or stays out of special committee formed to guide the integration process.

After returning from his home district Manang, Gurung told mediapersons at Pokhara Airport,

“NC’s seat has been reserved in the committee. It will make no difference to the army integration and peace process whether it joins the committee or not.” He said NC’s demand to dissolve the committee and include two members of the NC in the committee was unjustifiable.

Saying that his party adopted maximum flexibility while giving up the claim for the coordinator of the committee, Gurung accused the NC of hatching conspiracy against the army integration and the peace process.

Saying that a referendum on army integration was an option, Gurung said the referendum was, however, not a plausible idea as it had not been stated in the interim constitution and the comprehensive peace treaty.

Gurung also pointed out the need to amend the regulations for by-election in the vacant Constituent Assembly seats as the constitutional deadline to hold by-election within six month had already expired.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ said the PLA combatants and the Nepali Army would be integrated as per the Comprehensive Peace Accord. He was speaking to journalists after inaugurating the Indigenous People’s Cultural Festival-2065 in Tansen today.

“To say that the integration process can not go ahead without the NC’s involvement is just like saying that the earth would stop rotating with a man leaving the Earth,” Badal said.