The government should appoint a new general for the top post of Neapal Army to make people feel that it is actually serious in reforming and democratizing the army that is traditionally considered the private force of the king.
By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle’s Web Log
Poet Arjun Parajuli was reciting his creations in MaHa Gaijatra comedy show the other night. The following two lines were striking: “This government thinks the army is under its control,” the bearded poet, who is also popular as loktantrik kavi, said. “Yes, its very much under control. That is why when summoned at Patan, he goes to Pokhara!” Parajuli was referring to Chief of Nepali Army Pyar Jung Thapa’s blatant ignorance to the high level probe commission formed by the present government to look into atrocities committed by the autocratic royal regime. Those generals who ignored the commission include Rukmangad Katwal who has been promoted to the acting Chief of the Army Staff Monday by the present government. (Thapa has gone on leave Friday one month before retirement.) Katwal has been widely accused of suppressing the peoples’ movement in April. People have started protesting his promoting and nomination. A group of human rights organization yesterday issued a press release protesting the appointment of Katwal to the top post of Nepal Army. This nomination comes at a time when the whole country is eagerly waiting for reforms within the army and democratization of the armed force of Nepal.
Human Rights Activists Protest Katuwal’s Promotion
KATHMANDU, Aug 15 – Twenty-three human rights activists representing different human rights organizations have strongly protested the government decision promoting Lt. Gen. Rukmangat Katuwal to the post of acting army chief.
Issuing a joint statement Tuesday, they have alleged that Katuwal was involved in human rights violations when he was the chief of the regional headquarters of the Nepali Army in Nepalgunj. “The promotion indicates that the government has a weak willpower to stop impunity,” they said in the statement.
They have demanded that the government respect human rights and rule of law by stripping Katuwal off responsibilities.
The human rights activists protesting Katuwal’s promotion include, among others, Sushil Pyakurel, Dr Gauri Shankar Lal Das, Subodh Pyakurel, Dr Arjun Karki, Dr Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, Dr Renu Rajbhandari, Mandira Sharma, Shovakar Budhathoki, Bhawani Kharel, Kundan Aryal.
Some people reason that Katwal being the second in command automatically deserves to be promoted to the top post. Yes that’s right but only if he was clean and unchallenged. This is a different situation and the situation is serious one. Katwal has been accused of violating human rights and high level commission is proving his acts. In such scenario, he should have sidelined and suspended. There are many other able and uncontroversial generals in the army who, if promoted to the top post, can handle the organization. The organization will continue functioning without Rukmangad Katwal. In addition to the allegation of violating human rights, Katwal has also been accused of decreasing his age illegally so as to lengthen his stay in the army. This issued has now reached at the court.