Maoist cantonments, arms come under Nepal Army control
Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times: In a major step in the ongoing peace process in Nepal, the cantonments and arms of former Maoist combatants came under control of Nepal Army from Tuesday. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the Special Committee for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of the former Peoples’ Liberation Army personnel. Leaders of the three main parties Maoists, Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and Madhesi-parties in government decided to hand over all 15 cantonments to NA.
According to SC coordinator Balananda Sharma, NA officials are on the way to the cantonments to take charge of the around 3000 arms and Maoist combatants residing there.
The decision was taken following controversies regarding the integration move that led to skirmishes in some cantonments on Monday.
An earlier deal among the major parties had stipulated that 6,500 PLA personnel would be integrated into NA. But problem arose after over 9700 opted to join the army.
Now NA will undertake fresh survey among the remaining PLA personnel and give them another choice to either opt for voluntary retirement or rehabilitation based on eligibility.
Following the peace deal in 2006, over 19,000 PLA combatants had been staying in 28 cantonments across Nepal where their arms were also kept first under UN supervision and later under control of the SC.
In November last year, following a deal among parties, the process to regroup them started. Those who opted for retirement and rehabilitation were given monetary benefits and made to leave.
Those who opted for integration in the army stayed back. The number of cantonments was also brought down to 15 from the earlier 28.