Nepal Army chief rules out bulk merger of Maoist guerrillas
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Last Updated: Saturday, March 13, 2010, 18:16
  
Kathmandu: Nepal Army chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung has rejected the en-masse integration of the former Maoist guerrillas into the military, saying they were "excessively politically indoctrinated".

Gen Gurung asked the People's Liberation Army (PLA) personnel to disassociate themselves with the Maoist doctrine before joining the national army.

The top commander, however, said the army can consider individual entry of Maoist combatants into the military.

"After a broad political consensus, individual combatants who meet the set standards can be integrated in Nepal Army but they can?t be integrated in bulk," Gurung said during a meeting with UN Under Secretary General for political affairs B. Lynn Pascoe yesterday.

Army Headquarters sources quoted the top general as telling the UN official that such individuals "should totally disassociate themselves from political activities".

"We have felt that many Maoist combatants are excessively politically indoctrinated, but Nepal Army is highly disciplined, professional, competitive and apolitical," he said.

"So we can’t rule out the possibility that the honesty, impartiality and organisational unity of Nepal Army will be affected by the politically motivated individual," Gen Gurung said.

Pascoe, who was here on a three-day visit to review the 2006 peace process, expressed concern over delay in integration of Maoist combatants confined to 28 UNMIN-monitored cantonments.

The UN official told political leaders here that definitive progress in integration and rehabilitation of the Maoists guerrillas was a must to create conditions for UNMIN to wind down its task within the May 15 deadline.

Combatants willing to join security agencies can opt for Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and the National Investigation Department, said Gen Gurung.

His other options included economic package, entrepreneurial and skill trainings, education, foreign employment and job as forest guard and in border security, customs and industrial security.

Responding to Pascoe’s query on the number of combatants to be integrated, Gurung pointed out at the Shaktikhor cantonment video tape scandal, which had "revealed" that the Maoists had only six to seven thousand combatants.

Maoist chief Prachanda had in the leaked video tape revealed that they have inflated the number of Maoists combatants to more than 30,000, though only 19,000 were confined in the camps after verification by the UN.

Political tensions have been high in Nepal since a government led by the Maoists resigned last year amid a dispute with President Ram Baran Yadav over the reinstatement of former army chief Rukmangad Katawal, who was accused by Prachanda of opposing the integration of the PLA guerrillas.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, March 13, 2010, 18:16


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