Maoist PLA Integration: Latest Updates

1. The Party decides to end dual security to its leaders (removing Maoist PLA guerillas from some Maoist leaders’ security details. These leaders will continue to receive security from the government police/army)

2. Party hardliners are not happy with the Party decision. They table note of dissent.

3. The Party convenes a meeting where PLA guerillas/commanders are present. PLA men tell leaders to get unified- endorsing the Party’s decision and giving a blow to the hardline faction led by Mohan Baidya.

Here are events detailed in chronological order: (today’s report at the end)

JUN 01 – The United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) on Wednesday (1 June) unilaterally decided to end the two-layer security being provided to its leaders–a key demand of the main oppossition, Nepali Congress (NC)–amid opposition from the party’s hardliners. A meeting of the party’s office bearers also decided to bring vehicles being used by Maoist leaders–most of them stolen ones–within the legal ambit through proper registration. The NC had given the Maoists until Friday (3 June) to bring an end to the system where the former rebels get an inner layer of security from PLA men and the outter layer from the state security forces. Over 100 PLA combatants have been deployed for the security of Maoist leaders. There are 50 combatants for the security of Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal alone.

flag of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Hammer and sickle

In the three-party meeting on May 28 (the last day of the additional one year tenure of the CA, the tenure was extended for another three months on that day), Dahal had agreed to end the dual security system within a week. Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force will take full responsibility of Maoist leaders’ security.

The Maoist meeting also decided to hold discussions with government agencies to try to legalise unregistered vehicles used by party leaders. The party is seeking to register the vehicles used by the PLA leaders in cantonments as government vehicles, and “privatise” those used by Maoist leaders. Most of the vehicles have a different colour code recognised by the government. Former home minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula had given permission for the ad hoc arrangement.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Maoist Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai said they party took the decisions to create an atmosphere of trust among the parties. However, the hardliner faction led by Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya expressed reservations on the decisions. It said the decisions were flawed and against the party policy.

Meanwhile, the party has called a Standing Committee meeting from Friday to chart its political course for the next three months. Earlier, the Maoist CC had prepared the party’s interim strategy till May 28. The Maoists had taken important decisions on the integration issue such as accepting the Nepali Army’s modality, agreeing to integrate 8,000 to 10,000 combatants and ending the dual security system of Maoist leaders.

1st batch of PLA fighters sent to camps • Move to end dual Maoist security • Combatants rue ‘humiliation’

JUN 06 – The UCPN (Maoist) on Sunday formally began the process of sending PLA combatants deployed for the security of Maoist leaders to contonments. This is the first tentative sign of the peace process picking up pace after the five-point deal signed on May 29 that led to the extension of the Constituent Assembly tenure. Sunday’s Maoist move will put an end to the dual security system being provided to Maoist leaders. Government security personnel will now fully take charge of security arrangements for the Maoist leaders.

In an official function at his residence at Nayabazar, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal bid an emotional farewell to 48 PLA personnel. “I would like to thank all of you for the excellent security and vigilance that you have provided to the leaders so far. I wish for better future,” Dahal said. The 48 PLA combatants were deployed for the security of different Maoist leaders under the leadership of division commander Santu Darai. Party insiders say Dahal decided to send back the PLA men despite opposition from his deputy Mohan Baidya, who had warned the party leadership against taking ahead the peace process without first ensuring a new constitution. The Baidya faction had taken serious exception to Dahal’s decision to accept the five-point deal, which includes an agreement to end the dual security. The hardliner faction has been refusing to end the dual security system, saying that only the Central Committee can take a final call on the issue.

Maoist leader Barsha Man Pun said the remaining 64 combatants will be sent back to their respective cantonments within three days. “Some PLA combatants are outside the Valley providing security to other leaders. They will be sent back to their cantonements in the next few days,” Pun said. He said that along with the PLA fighters, 96 weapons will also be to sent to be kept in storage containers at the Shaktikhor cantonment site. Meanwhile, some PLA men expressed displeasure over the party’s sudden decision to send them back to the cantonments. They said they felt ‘humiliated’ to go back all of a sudden to the cantonements before the completion of the integration process. “We spent five years providing round-the-clock security to the leaders. It does not feel good when they abruptly decide to send us back,” said a combatant.

Meanwhile, the Baidya faction has refused to send back PLA combatants deployed for the security of leaders, stating that only the Central Committee can take a decision on the issue.

8 June (Today): MAOIST PARTY HOLDS CONSULTATIONS WITH PLA COMMANDERS Three days after Maoists formally began dismantling dual security arrangements for their leaders, the party for the first-time held consultations with PLA commanders about integration process-since the five-point deal signed on May 29-that commits the party to completion of the integration process by August 27. In a meeting held on Wednesday in Kathmandu, the party leadership tried to sell the five-point deal and subsequent Special Committee decisions which has bearing on the future of the combatants. Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal also attempted to neutralise the hardliner’s resistance by speaking directly with the PLA leaders-where Dahal has considerable support-instead of calling the meeting of central committee as demanded by the hardliners.

Though PLA commanders raised pointed questions about party’s policy on integration and asked the leadership to come clean on how the process would move forward, the deliberation on party policies in a PLA forum is likely to strengthen Dahal’s hands. In fact during Wednesday’s meeting Baidya, for the first time, grudgingly accepted the NA’s proposed modality, but argued that the separate directorate within NA should only consist of PLA personnel, according a PLA commander.

PLA leaders asked both the hardliners and the establishment to patch up their differences-cautioning them that the open public spat between party leaders was affecting the morale of the combatants. The commanders also demanded that the party continued to stake its claim on the leadership of new directorate of Nepali Army (NA) and that there be a dignified integration and rehabilitation of combatants. The PLA commanders also insisted that party stress on a military mandate for the new directorate and the ranks be harmonised.

Responding to the concerns expressed by the PLA top-brass, party Chairman Dahal tried to assure them of a dignified integration and rehabilitation process-downplaying fears that the party was “surrendering.” Commanders also called for the integration of at least ten thousand combatants in ‘bulk.’ Almost all division commanders raised the issue of disqualified combatants and urged leadership to address their problems. In reply Dahal said he will accommodate the views of the hardliners as he moves forward. But more significantly Chairman Dahal said that the integration process will proceed in the letter and spirit of the five-point deal and urged the combatants to remain prepared for the integration and rehabilitation, according a PLA commander present in the meeting.

Vice Chairman Baidya reiterated his position that integration process and constitution writing process should move ahead simultaneously and demanded that a national security policy be unveiled before the integration. Standing Committee member Barshaman Pun briefed PLA commanders about the latest development in the Special Committee and ongoing dialogue with other parties on numbers and modality. “The meeting was convened in the light of the fact that the party will have to take some important decisions on integration soon, ” said PLA spokesman Khanal-suggessting further progress in the peace process.

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