POST B BASNET/KIRAN PUN
KATHMANDU, Dec 7: With the process of their integration and rehabilitation moving ahead smoothly, personnel of the Maoist People´s Liberation Army (PLA) have sought the return of money the party has kept as “deposits”.
The Maoist party has been retaining Rs 1,000 from the salary of each of the 19,525 combatants every month since November 2006 till November, 2011.
The combatants were told that Rs 500 out of the Rs 1,000 was to be deposited as each combatant´s savings, while the rest of the money was to go to party headquarters, the combative outfit Young Communist League (YCL), and for various activities.
According to sources, the PLA commanders will soon hold talks with Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal about the return of the money.
“Our painful waiting at the cantonments is finally over and it is time to part ways. So the party should now return the money which was kept as savings,” said a PLA vice-commander who did not want to be named.
The total amount of money the party has collected from the salaries of the 19,528 combatants since 2006 stands Rs 1.17 billion.
Going by what the party pledged to the combatants, Rs 585.84 million should now go back into the pockets of the combatants.
But many junior PLA commanders doubt if the party will return the money easily.
“We are not sure if we will get the total amount we are supposed to get as voluntary retirement packages, let alone return of the deposits,” says a junior level commander.
But some others are mulling ´tough measures´ against the party if the money is not returned.
“We may have to resort to legal procedures for justice. We will knock at the doors of the courts,” said a junior commander.
The combatants have demanded the return of Rs 30,000 each, with interest.
As all the seven division commanders are from the party establishment, it is the party hardline faction that has vociferously demanded the return of the money.
And rank-and-file combatants from the party establishment have also joined hands with the hardliners on this issue.
“It is not a matter of factionalism. It is our common issue,” said a combatant.
Each of the seven PLA divisions is said to have millions of rupees kept from the combatants´ salaries. According to sources, a large portion of the money has already gone to party headquarters.
Besides, the combatants´ money has been invested in many ventures including the Jana Maitri Hospital and some FM radio stations.