Nepal’s child soldiers are in the news again —this time due to the government’s decision to provide cash incentives to them.
The Baburam Bhattarai-led Maoist-Madhesi coalition had recently announced an allocation of NRs 200,000 (Rs125,000) to each of the 3,000-plus child soldiers disqualified from the Maoist Peoples’ Liberation Army.
On Thursday, chairman of opposition Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) Jhalanath Khanal slammed the government move, which will cost the country NRs 60 crore (R35.5 crore).
In a statement the former prime minister termed the decision as violation of international norms on human rights, state-sponsored corruption and misuse of state exchequer.
The Maoist child soldiers who were found to be minors during a UN-led verification process in 2007 after signing of the peace deal were discharged from barracks in early 2010.
Feeling left out despite spending years in the Maoist army during the civil war, these child soldiers have been demanding better incentives.