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Clashes expedite delayed peace process in Nepal

world Updated: Apr 12, 2012 01:01 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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In an unexpected turn of events, Nepal's former Maoist combatants and their arms were brought under control of the country's army on Tuesday. Though the process for such an outcome was on, the script didn't play out as planned by the Maoist political leadership.

Clashes among combatants over issues relating to their integration into the Nepal Army and mismanagement of funds meant for the former rebels by the Maoist party hastened the process that had been hanging fire for nearly six years since the peace deal.

With the special committee responsible for supervision, integration and rehabilitation of PLA personnel forced to order Nepal Army to take over the cantonments that had been the combatants' home for six years, Nepal moved very close to completion of the peace process.

From Wednesday, the combatants would again be verified for integration into Nepal Army and if they are not found matching the eligibility criteria, they would have to choose between rehabilitation and voluntary retirement.

In November last year, the special committee had carried out a similar process. But problems started when contrary to a deal among parties which stipulated integration for 6,500 PLA men and women, 9,705 of them decided on joining the army.

While those opting for retirement and rehabilitation left the cantonments, it meant further delay for those who chose integration. As months passed, discontent grew over management of funds and integration issues like educational qualification and training.

The fact that the hardliner faction of Maoists was inciting them didn't help matters. Things came to a boil this week when clashes broke out in most cantonments and some PLA commanders had to flee fearing murderous attacks by their subordinates.

Breakdown of chain of command forced the Maoist leadership, which was accused of delaying the integration process with intention of using the PLA men as bargaining chips in the constitution drafting process on issues like form of government, had no option but to give in.