Wednesday, June 8, 2011
PLA-men refuse non-combatant role
KATHMANDU, June 9: Commanders of the Maoist People´s Liberation Army (PLA) have demanded that their party reject the Nepal Army (NA)´s integration modality that has proposed turning them into a non-combative force.
The PLA commanders put forward such views during an interaction with party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the latter´s residence in Nayabazaar on Wednesday.
“We are not against integration, but we reject the NA´s integration model that wants to turn us into a non-combative force, which means to reject us as soldiers,” a participant quoted Acting Fifth Division Commander Raj Bahadur Budha Magar as saying.
Magar was of the view that no one can be a soldier without arms and argued that it would be humiliation for the PLA if the party goes for that model.
“We want a dignified place to serve the nation and the people. So we don´t want to become forest guards. We are against the modality that obliterates our existence. Why should we accept the modality which was agreed upon without consulting us,” Magar, who is close to Dahal, stated.
In reply, Dahal argued that his party has accepted the Nepal Army (NA)´s integration modality only in its spirit -- not in its entirety.
“It is wrong to say that we have accepted the army´s integration modality; we are yet to discuss and finalize the details,” a PLA commander quoted Dahal as saying.
The Maoist chairman faced a tough time allaying fears of the commanders that the party is “obliterating” the PLA´s existence by accepting the integration model that is “humiliating” for the “revolutionary guards”.
The PLA members also demanded that the directorate should be led by the PLA, not by the NA.
The meeting saw participation of some 150 commanders from all 28 cantonments. Most commanders held views that the party should not accept the proposal to turn them into a non-combative force.
The commanders argued that the party should first pay heed to the plight of those PLA men who were maimed during the insurgency.
“Maimed and disqualified PLA members are wandering without works. The government must address their concerns before taking the integration process ahead,” stated Yam Bahadur Adhikari, First Division Commander.
The PLA commanders also accused the top leaders of being left without any roadmap to revolution and instead promoting factionalism.
“There are not only three factions, but four. None of the faction should woo our support. None of you have any roadmap to revolution. If you have, present it before us. We are ready to sacrifice ourselves for revolution, but not for the self-aggrandizement of the leaders,” a participant quoted Raj Bahadur Budha Magar as saying.
The PLA commanders also strongly demanded that the party reject the proposal to recruit the PLA personnel only in lower ranks. “We are against the decision to violate the existing order and ranks in the PLA after integration,” stated Mahendra Shahi, Sixth Division Commander.
The commanders also expressed dissatisfaction over the party´s stance to integrate 8,000 to 10,000 PLA personnel. “So, are the rest of us incompetent?” a commander asked in a chit sent to Dahal. But Dahal simply parried this question.
Most of the commanders demanded that the government announce “golden handshake” while taking the integration process ahead.
The party held the interaction program to understand the views of the commanders on the integration issues.
Dahal had refuted the allegations that he has submitted the keys of the arms containers to the government. “It is false that we have submitted the keys to the government. We have made compromises as per the needs of the time. The party has not deviated from its ideological goals,” a commander quoted Dahal.
Dahal replied that the standard norms of integration and rank harmonization has not be discussed and finalized. These two issues are the most contentious in the integration process.
Division commanders Yam Adhikari, Suk Bahadur Rokka, Dhan Bahadur Maskey Magar, Tej Bahadur Oli, Raj Bahadur Budha Magar, Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and Santu Darai had spoken at the program, while the middle-rung commanders had posed their questions in writing.
All the top office bearers, military in-charge Barshaman Pun and PLA Chief Nanda Kishore Pun were present at the function.
DDR not acceptable: Baidya
Baidya told the commanders that the Demobilization, Development and Reconstruction (DRR) model is not acceptable to him. “We wrote a note of dissent against the party´s decision to accept the DDR model,” a commander quoted Baidya as saying.
Baidya has written a note of dissent against the party´s decision to end the security bring provided to the senior party leaders by the PLA personnel. PLA guards from the Baidya faction have not submitted their weapons to the party headquarters.
There are more than two dozen PLA guards in the security of the leaders from the party hard-line faction.