Gorkhatimes

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Treat us on par with NA: PLA

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 9, 2009

KATHMANDU, Sept 9(MYREPUBLICA): The Maoist People´s Liberation Army (PLA) has demanded that the government treat it on par with the Nepal Army (NA) in terms of responsibilities and facilities as they have come under direct control of the Special Committee for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants.

“The PLA is now part of the state and it should treat both armies on equal footing in terms of facilities and responsibilities,” said PLA deputy-commander Chandra Prakash Khanal while briefing journalists on the decisions of the PLA general staff meeting that concluded here Monday.

“We had agreed to professionalize the PLA and democratize the NA during the peace process. But the agreements have not been implemented yet,” he said but added that he doesn´t want to “blame the whole institution of the army.”

He argued that it is now the responsibility of the government to provide necessary training and equipment and set up infrastructure for the Maoist army which has now come under direct control of the Special Committee.

Khanal, newly appointed as PLA spokesperson, requested the Special Committee to develop mechanisms to take charge of the PLA. “We are not yet sure where we should now report PLA activities”, he said. The PLA has hitherto been reporting to party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

On integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist army, Khanal said the Special Committee should first develop the modality, and the PLA would give its feedback afterwards.

Khanal lambasted views expressed by political party leaders against integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants. “The meeting felt that a serious and dangerous conspiracy is being hatched (against the peace process).”

He said the Maoist army would continue flying the PLA flag at the cantonments as per the agreement. The flag depicts Mt. Everest, crossed AK-47 assault rifles and a red star.

On the discharge of disqualified combatants from the cantonments, he said those combatants are not ready to quit the camps with vocational training for minor jobs. PLA commanders have been demanding cash relief for them. The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) disqualified 4,008 Maoist combatants during the verification process. They are still languishing in the seven cantonments and 21 satellite camps.

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