CHITWAN, July 8: Former Maoist combatants, who had boycotted the selection process for recruitment in the Nepal Army (NA) on Friday, have put off all their protests.
The agitating combatants said on Saturday that they put off the protest programs following assurances from both the prime minister and the party leadership.
"We are currently holding discussions on ways to move ahead in case our demands are not met," said a combatant Narayan Prasad Baral. The combatants have been demanding dignified integration in the national army.
Baral said they decided to put off protests as the integration process been halted for the time being. "We will resume our protests if the integration process is resumed without addressing our demands," he said.
On Friday, former Maoist combatants had boycotted integration process after army recruitment committees disqualified a significant number of "overage and underage" ex-Maoist combatants. They had said that they would not allow the process to move ahead until the issue is resolved.
The former Maoist combatants issuing a press statement on Saturday have demanded dignified integration in the national army.
Brigade commander at the Maoist third divisional headquarter at Shaktikhor Gobinda Batala said, they won´t allow integration process to resume until their demands are met. "The selection for recruitment will begin only after we receive clear assurances that our demands will be met," he said. "We have not received any official information except the prime minister´s remarks in a news report."
Nepal Army (NA) Spokesperson Ramindra Chhetri said they have not received any directives to resume the integration process in any of the cantonments. “I am also not aware if any discussion is being held on the issue," he said.
Ex-PLA men seek clarification over financial irregularities
The agitating Maoist combatants awaiting integration have also sought clarification from the cantonment commanders over financial irregularities in the cantonments.
"Since a petition has already been filed at the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), we will discuss the issue after the anti-graft body completes its investigation," said Battalion Commander Dhalak Bahadur Blon.
"Since our colleagues both staying inside and outside the cantonments have been questioning financial transactions carried out by the commanders, we believe that the state should investigate into the issue," he further said.
Ram Chandra Chalise, a former combatant, said Rs 1,000 was collected from each combatant in the cantonments for party fund. "The money should be returned to us. Else, we will file a case against our commanders," he said.
Agitating former combatants have accused the commanders of embezzling over Rs 190 million collected from them. They suspect irregularities as the money told to have been collected for YCL cadres has not been distributed to them.