Monday, June 6, 2011

Baidya camp PLA security refuses to turn in arms

returning a PLA from duty-post at Chairman Prachand after hand-over duty to a APF. Photo: Shiva Khakurel
from Republica/KIRAN PUN
KATHMANDU, June 7: The second batch of PLA security personnel, who are providing security to party including hardliners and were supposed to return to the cantonments on Monday, have stayed back in Kathmandu after declining to submit their weapons to party headquarters and abide by party directives.
According to sources, over two dozen armed PLA members are yet to hand over their arms to party headquarters and heed the party´s call to return to their cantonments. They have 26 weapons in their possession. Of the 106 PLA guards in Kathmandu, 40 returned to the cantonments on Sunday and the remaining 66 were supposed to leave here Monday.

 Division Commander Santu Darai, who was in the security detail for Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, denied that the process of PLA personnel returning to the cantonments has been halted. "Administrative work has delayed the process. We plan to complete the process by Tuesday and are confident of completing the task by then," Darai said.

The party hardline faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya has argued that ending the security being provided by PLA personnel to senior leaders is tantamount to surrender and that only the party Central Committee (CC) can take such a momentous decision.

"We are still holding discussions, and will send them back to the cantonments sooner or later," Baidya told Republica. He said he would abide by the party decision.

Meanwhile, government forces have taken over the security of senior Maoist leaders.

The home ministry sent 70 police personnel -- 50 from the Armed Police Force (APF) and 20 from the civil police -- for Dahal´s security. "We are confident that state security personnel will perform their duty well. It is rather the duty of the people to provide him security," said Dahal aide Samir Dahal. He said the Maoist chairman has felt a "vacuum" on parting with PLA personnel who were in his security detail for years.

As part of their commitment to conclude the peace process made just ahead of the CA term extension on May 29, the Maoists decided to withdraw the security being provided to senior Maoist leaders by PLA personnel and send such personnel back to the cantonments.

Meanwhile, our reporter Chandani Hamal reports from Chitwan said weapons that were to arrive at Shaktikhor cantonment located in the district have not done so. Commanders at the cantonment stated that they received information the weapons could not be brought there "due to lack of security". They said the government did not provide police escort for transporting the weapons to the cantonment. They also made negative comments about "negligence by the state over such a grave issue". Given the "negligence", they also expressed doubt that state security forces could really provide security to their leaders.

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