Genuine fighters left camps after CPA, says Oli

KATHMANDU: Standing committee member of the ruling CPN-UML K P Sharma Oli today alleged that the UCPN-Maoist had let the real combatants go out of the UN-monitored cantonments and recruited fresh combatants.

He also accused the Maoist leadership of giving birth to the Young Communist League (YCL) comprising those fighters involved in the decade-long insurgency.

"After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed between the then government and the Maoists, the latter converted the cantonments as their army recruitment centres," Oli said, while speaking at a talk programme in the capital.

Oli, who is known for his severe attack and blistering criticism against the Maoists, said the issue of integration of the People's Liberation Army of the Maoists was only a part of the peace process and it should not be given preference isolating from the constitution drafting process.

"People will consider the major political parties to be redundant forces if the Constituent Assembly fails to draft the constitution on time," Oli said. He also underscored the need of composite dialogues among the top leadership of the major parties on significant issues pertaining to the new statue.

Speaking on the same occasion, Lilamani Pokharel, politburo member, UCPN-Maoist, however, said that the Nepali Congress and UML did not even want to talk about the PLA's integration into the Nepali Army, even though the issue is clearly mentioned in the Interim Constitution, CPA and an agreement on the monitoring of the arms and armies.

Pokharel said major parties should reach consensus on the form of governance, federalism and sharing state resources between the federal government and the provinces. He also defended his party's decision to oppose the President's "unconstitutional" move to reinstate the then army chief General Rookmangud Katawal, who was sacked by the Prachanda-led cabinet.

Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, a NC leader, however, claimed that the Interim Constitution was silent over the PLA's integration into the Nepali Army. "The Maoist combatants must meet the standard norms individually if they wish to join the national army," he said.

"This issue should be resolved at the earliest as it may raise problems in drafting the new constitution," Dr Mahat said. He said 4,000 disqualified combatants, including minors, should have been discharged two years ago as the state had fulfilled its responsibility.