[Years after the abandonment of the revolutionary people’s war, in exchange for false promises, the illusory “gains” have proven empty and are losing their remaining adherents. — Frontlines ed.]
The Kathmandu Post: “993 combatants choose integration in 3 days”
KATHMANDU, SEP 08 – Altogether 993 former Maoist combatants have filled up forms for integration in the seven main cantonments by Saturday. The selection process began on Thursday.
Many of the 3,123 ex-fighters, who were initially waiting for integration, have complained that the age criteria set by the Special Committee forced them to change their priority. The Special Committee has said only those combatants who were born before May 24, 1988 are eligible to opt for integration.
So far, 202 ex-combatants, including 12 females, have filled up integration forms at the Third Division based in Chitwan. Similarly, 171 have expressed desire to go for integration at the Fourth Division, Nawalparasi; 234 at the Sixth Division, Surkhet; 106 at the Fifth Division Rolpa; 99 at the Seventh Division, Kailali; 82 at the First Division, Ilam and 99 at the Second Division, Sindhuli, according to the Directorate of Public Relations of the Nepal Army. The former fighters willing to join in lower ranks can fill up integration forms until September 30 and the result will be announced on October 7, according to the Special Committee Secretariat. The selection for commanders eyeing the officer ranks in the Nepal Army will start on September 12 in Chitwan.
The Nepal Army is conducting bearing tests, pre-medical exams and written tests for fighters who filled up integration forms at their respective cantonments. Many fighters are planning to opt for a voluntary retirement package that will open from Wednesday.“I found the recruitment process very complex. There is a high chance of being disqualified after filling up integration forms,” Shaktikhor-based combatant Laxman Rana said. The division’s Company Commander Aitaram Dhakal said the ongoing process was recruitment not integration, and added he decided to opt out of the process carried out in a “humiliating manner.”
The Special Committee Secretariat is yet to visit eight satellite cantonments to collect integration forms. The number of aspiring candidates from all camps could come around 1,500 to 1,700, said a Secretariat member.
“In my view, around 1,000 to 1,200 fighters will finally be integrated. Some of the aspiring candidates are unlikely to pass the selection tests conducted by the Nepal Army,” said the source. Special Committee Secretariat coordinator Balananda Sharma termed the decline in the number natural.
“Many combatants fail to meet the age and education qualifications so the decline in the number of aspiring candidates is obvious,” said Sharma. The Maoists themselves had short-listed and submitted a list of 2,700 combatants to join the Nepal Army to the Secretariat ahead of the handover of cantonments and combatants to the Special Committee in April.