The Great Integration Controversy (Maoists into National Army?)

Today’s Kathmandu Post has an interesting analysis of the controversy surrounding the possible “integration” of Maoist PLAs into National army.

By Damakant Jayshi

Of late, the integration of Maoist combatants (into Nepal Army) seems to be snow-balling into a major controversy and if not nipped in the bud, may develop into a major crisis. What has not helped matters is political party leaders – including very senior ones – joining the debate through public forums in various parts of the country. The latest round started when Chief of Army Staff Rookmangud Katawal said (on Jan 5) that the army should be kept free from any isms, ideology and political motivation.

Various agreements between the then seven-party alliance/government with the CPN (Maoist) right since the 12-point agreement in New Delhi in November 2005 are conspicuously silent whether Maoist combatants should be integrated into the army.

As per the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) and the Interim Constitution of April last year, a high-level special committee (comprising four ministers) has to supervise, integrate and rehabilitate Maoist forces. As for Nepal Army, the government – in consultation with political parties and the Legislature-Parliament – is to formulate a plan to democratize Nepal Army, determine its right number and make it inclusive.

“The spirit of our agreements with the then SPA and later the government is that there should be restructuring of state security forces, which will lead to formation of a national army,” Dr Baburam Bhattarai of CPN (Maoist) who had been involved in discussion and signing of all documents, told the Kathmandu Post. He added that now the Maoists have agreed that the issue should not be raised before constituent assembly elections are held. Continue reading The Great Integration Controversy (Maoists into National Army?)