Nepal: Disqualified combatants disrupt retirement process in Surkhet


[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?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?”

Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems]


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


YCL men lock Maoist offices in west Nepal


DHANGADI, Feb 6: Members of the Maoist Young Communist League (YCL) on Monday locked the party´s offices in western Nepal for “depriving” them of financial packages on par with PLA personnel as promised by the party leadership back in 2007.

The offices of nine district committees of the Maoist party as well the Tharuwan and Seti-Mahakali state committees have been closed indefinitely.

The disgruntled YCL members have felled a tree across the road just two kilometers from the Maoist Seventh Division at Talband to block vehicular movement and also cut power supply to the cantonment in an attempt to block the voluntary retirement process.

They have announced that they will boycott all party programs, prevent party central committee (CC) members from visiting the western region of the country and seize the vehicles and property of party leaders and PLA commanders.

Meanwhile, irate YCL members took over the vehicles of party leaders Lilamani Pokharel, Hari Bhakta Kandel and Maheshwar Gahatraj for two hours at Mahendranagar in Kanchanpur, Monday afternoon and released them only later.

Back in 2007, the party had picked out promising members of the PLA and formed the combative YCL in a bid to foment an urban insurrection for state capture.

“Two brigades of PLA personnel were sent out of the cantonments by the party leadership and PLA commanders to ensure the victory of the party during the CA elections,” YCL central committee (CC) member Lalit Thapa said, adding, “The party had promised to treat us on par with those remaining in the cantonments, but it did not [keep its word].”

Thapa claimed that 363 PLA members including himself were taken out of their battalion and made members of the YCL.

“They assured us that it would make no difference even if we didn´t participate in the UNMIN verification process,” he lamented, and said the YCL members were compelled to launch the protest after the party failed to live up to its word.

Just before sending their combatants into the cantonments in 2007, the Maoists had picked out the promising PLA personnel and directed them to work for the YCL with a view to fomenting an urban insurrection for state capture. The Maoists also rounded up local youths from across the country to fill up the cantonments.

Issuing a statement, the protestors have demanded PLA identity cards, rehabilitation for physically disabled YCL members, relief packages on par with the PLA, and integration into the Nepal Army (NA), among other things.

They said they will hold talks with any leader other than PLA chief Nanda Kishor Pun and the coordinator of the Special Committee, which is headed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. The YCL members have also stated that they will launch an indefinite general strike in western Nepal from February 13.

Published on 2012-02-06

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