Disqualified PLA fighters padlock CPN-MC HQ

Kathmandu, November 7

Hundreds of former Maoist underage soldiers, who were discharged from Maoist PLA cantonments after they were found to be ‘ineligible’ for integration into the Nepali Army today padlocked CPN-Maoist Centre headquarters in Paris Danda, seeking ‘justice’ and ‘fair treatment’ from the party and the state.

Coordinator of the Discharged People’s Liberation Army Lenin Bista claimed that some 300 to 400 discharged ex-Maoist combatants seized the CPN-MC headquarters and padlocked it this evening. They also locked some CPN-MC central leaders, including Hitman Shakya, inside the party headquarters.

“We were used by the Maoists for their cause,” Bista told The Himalayan Times. “We spent our entire childhood in the war. We could neither get formal education nor can we get any job now.”

He said that the discharged ex-Maoist combatants should get justice and reparation as per the international norms and practices regarding minors and child soldiers. Bista added that justice could be ensured through reparation packages, including financial aid, and public apology from the Maoist party.

As many as 4,009 Maoist ex-combatants were disqualified for integration into the Nepali Army on the ground of either being minors or being late entrants to the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army. They were released from their camps in early 2010.

Some 1,500 ex-PLAs finally joined the Nepali Army. Around 17,000 Maoist ex-fighters, who were found to be eligible for integration into NA, however, chose voluntary retirement, taking home Rs 5-8 lakhs from the state.

The ‘disqualified’ ex-PLA combatants were assured of Rs 2 lakh each to facilitate their return to the society. However, a writ against such move was filed at the court.

Bista told The Himalayan Times that they padlocked the CPN-MC headquarters to pressure their mother party — which is in the government— so as to ensure justice from the state.

“Maoist leaders used us in the war as human shields. They robbed us of our childhood,” another discharged ex-combatants charged. “Maoists have simply ignored our genuine demands.”

He warned that the country might have to grapple with another bout of insurgency if they were denied justice.

CPN-MC Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal admitted that a group of ex-PLA combatants had seized the party headquarters to draw the party’s attention to their concern.

She added that the discharged ex-PLA soldiers would get their assured package from the state after the court decision. She advised them to picket Singha Durbar rather than CPN-MC’s headquarters to fulfill their demands.

Bhusal said protesters were told that they would get the pledged support after the court decision.

According to her, the government would soon form a committee to hold talks with the discharged ex-PLA combatants.