Saturday, December 3, 2011

Defectors to PLA want integration

Anjan Kumar Timilsina with People's Liberation Army (PLA) uniform
Anjan Kumar Timilsina with then Royal Nepal Army's uniform
DAHABAN (Rolpa), Dec 3: A corporal in the then Royal Nepal Army (now Nepal Army), Anjan Kumar Timilsina, defected to the Maoist People´s Liberation Army (PLA) in 2001 to realize the ´ideals of revolution´.
A decade later, Timilsia, 42, is not sure whether his dream has come true -- or will ever do so. But he regards himself better placed to serve the country, and has applied for integration into the army.

"With the experience of working with both the NA and PLA, I think I can now contribute better to my country," says Timilsina, who is one of 117 army personnel who defected to the PLA during the insurgency. Two of Timilsina´s brothers, one of them also an NA defector, were also in the PLA and were subsequently killed during the conflict.

Among NA personnel who defected to the PLA, Timilsina, who heads the PLA training department at Hattikhor, is alone to rise to the level of brigade commander.

Recruited in the NA in 1989, Timilsina had run away from the Jiri barracks. According to him, he had persuaded a dozen others also to defect to the PLA, but there was a state of emergency then and the plan failed. “Finally, I quit the barracks at 4 a.m. without my weapon,” he said.

Life has come full circle for Timilsina, who says he is comfortable about joining the army again. "I will not face any hardship; NA officers and former colleagues have been asking me to join," he says.

Timilsina´s brother Ram Krishna, a former army man who defected to the PLA in 1999, was killed when security forces attacked PLA personnel returning after storming Arghakhachi headquarters in 2002. Another of his brothers, Shivahari, was also in the PLA and was killed in 2003 at Rupandehi by the security forces.

Indra Roka Magar, 25, is another NA man who defected to the PLA, in 2005, and he has now applied for integration.

Similarly, Fourth Division Vice-commander Kal Bahadur Nath, who left the NA in 1986, before the insurgency, has also filed for integration.

According to PLA sources, around 195 personnel from the Nepal Army, Nepal Police (NP) and Armed Police Force (APF) had joined the PLA. The defections started after 1997.

Altogether 12 security personnel had defected to the PLA with their weapons.

Most of them were, however, either killed in action or quit the PLA to start new occupations or went abroad for employment.

Integration of former NA soldiers is a disputed issue, however.

According to sources, the NA has already requested the government to persuade them to opt for either voluntary retirement or rehabilitation.

“It will be problematic if the set criteria qualify them for higher positions than their former colleagues in the NA,” said an army officer.  


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