[Frontlines editorial comment: A noted Black writer/poet in the US, Langston Hughes, once penned these lines on the frustrations of the denied and delayed. It is appropriate to the events in Nepal today.
“What happens to a dream deferred?
Maybe it just sags
Or does it explode?”
KATHMANDU, Feb 5: A group of 70 former disqualified Maoist combatants on Sunday disrupted the ongoing voluntary retirement process in the Surkhet-based Maoist cantonment by vandalizing a makeshift office used by officials from the secretariat for the Special Committee.
According to Dipak Prakash Bhatt, who is also a secretariat member, the disqualified combatants pushed their way into the cantonment at around 3:30 pm and tore apart the four tents of the makeshift office, vandalized three laptops, tables and chairs before they were taken under control by verified combatants in the cantonment.
Despite the obstruction, the voluntary retirement process will be continued on Monday by beefing up security in the cantonment, said Bhatt, who is leading a secretariat team to carry out the retirement process in the cantonment. Bhatt said 180 checks had been issued before the process was disrupted.
One Nepal Police inspector, who was working as an arms monitor in the cantonment, sustained minor injury in the skirmish between the disqualified combatants and verified combatants. The disqualified combatants were later handed over to police.
“We have been given security assurances by the chief district officer and we are resuming our works from Monday,” said Bhatt, who said that the attackers started vandalism soon after he asked their identity.
“They said nothing to us, nor did they tell us why they attacked our office,” said Bhatt.
The disqualified combatants were released from the cantonments in early January 2010 but they have frequently expressed their dissatisfaction over their “unceremonious” release from the cantonments.
In the meantime, the secretariat for the Special Committee said it completed giving voluntary retirement to 2,053 combatants, with 1,000 on average a day, as of Sunday.
According to Balananda Sharma, convener of the secretariat, the voluntary retirement process is proceeding smoothly in all the cantonments except the one in Surkhet.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Barshaman Pun said Sunday that the government will soon bring a package to address the demands of the disqualified combatants.
Published on 2012-02-06