Prachanda ready to disband guerrilla army

Kathmandu: As Nepal's political parties struggled to reach a compromise on Thursday, the Maoist chief said he was ready to dissolve the party's paramilitary organisation and facilitate the integration of its combatants in a bid to end the standoff between the government and the former rebels.

Prachanda, who is also the supreme commander of the Maoists' People’s Liberation Army, said his party was ready to dissolve the para-military structure of the Young Communist League (YCL), the youth wing of the party, within 4-5 days and integrate and rehabilitate the Maoist combatants within four months.

"We’ll dismantle the barracks of the Young Communist League within four-five days. We are ready to break the relation of the party with the cantonments," he underlined.

Unified CPN-Maoist is also ready to return the land and property seized during the decade-long insurgency as per the demands of the other political parties at the earliest, Prachanda said during an interaction with members of the civil society in the capital yesterday.

Prachanda said the party was ready to categorise the Maoist combatants by mid-June in a bid to speed up the integration of the former rebels.

While the former rebels want an en masse induction of some 19,500 former guerrillas, the ruling parties say the Maoists inflated the size of the PLA and are entitled to have only 3,500-4,000 combatants accommodated in the military.

Major political parties have asked the Maoists to disband their para-military groups and turn their organisation into a civilian party and return properties seized before they could consider supporting a government led by the Maoists.

Prachanda also asked for the setting up of a reconciliation commission to establish the whereabout of nearly 1,000 people who went missing during the People’s War and are feared to have been killed by security forces or the former rebels themselves.

Nepali Congress, the second largest party in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, has asked the Maoists to implement its commitments so as to end the political deadlock.

Sher Bahadur Deuba, the former Prime Minister of the Nepali Congress, said though the Maoists commitments were positive, they should put these commitments into practice.