By Binod Tripathi in the Kathmandu Post
Shaktikhor (Chitwan)- A year back, when the third division cantonment had recently shifted to Chitwan from Kamidada of Kavre district, then division commander ‘Sonam’ had informed media that a total of 8,300 PLA fighters were stationed in the camps. Six months later, when the United Nations (UN) verification team visited the cantonment, they registered just 6,100 guerrillas there. The Maoist leadership at third division is tight-lipped when it comes to the 2,200 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) combatants who vanished.
Bhunesh Chaudhary, a PLA deserter who now works as a motorcycle mechanic in Chitwan, has an answer. Chaudhary said that he and seven of his fellow combatants ran away from the cantonment after they saw no future inside the camps. “I had joined the Maoists out of peer pressure,” Chaudhary told the Post, “But I eventually escaped the camp.”
All of them are now working at an engineering workshop in Tadi Bazaar of Chitwan. They are also taking driving lessons to brace themselves for foreign employment. Upon being asked about combatants fleeing the camps, deputy commander of the third division Sanjeev said, “The number seems to have dwindled simply because commissars living here until last year have been deployed for other tasks.” But he was quick to add that rumors regarding the deserters are outright false. Meanwhile, deserters said that they have risked their lives after defecting from the party. (continue reading it here)