Nepal approves pocket money for Maoist guerrillas

Updated on May 21, 2007 01:21 PM IST
In order to keep peace process on track, Nepal's Maoist guerrillas will be paid pocket money by the government.
HT Image
HT Image
IANS | By, Kathmandu

Nepal's Maoist guerrillas, once carrying a price on their heads, will now be paid pocket money by the government in a move to keep the peace process on track.

Combatants of the once underground People's Liberation Army, who have been living in 28 camps since the outlaws signed a peace pact with the government last year, will now get Nepali Rs.3,000 each a month to meet their personal expenses.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's coalition government has also agreed to build 105 houses in eastern Nepal to house the self-styled first battalion of the rebels after some of the camps were devastated by storm and rain, making them unsuitable for habitation.

The agreement, expected to be made official after a cabinet meeting on Monday, comes after a show of might by the rebels, whose chief Prachanda had threatened to begin an indefinite closure from Monday.

Nearly 31,000 soldiers, including women, have been cantoned since the rebels called a ceasefire. Nepal's cash-strapped government has so far given the guerrillas Rs.1.08 billion to run the camps.

The money became a bone of contention between Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and the rebels. While the former says the Maoists have given no account of how they spent the money, the rebels claim the sum is not sufficient and the guerrillas have been running up debts.

In a bid to pressure the government, rebel soldiers began leaving the camps in violation of an arms pact signed with the government and UN, saying they were seeking jobs in nearby villages to repay their debts.

Finally, Koirala's government has decided to hand over the running of the camps to the physical planning and infrastructure ministry headed by a senior Maoist leader, Hisila Yami.

In addition, it has allocated Rs.11 million for the construction of houses in Ilam and Morang districts to house nearly 3,200 soldiers.

However, the government has set a condition for paying the pocket money. It says the soldiers will have to be verified by the UN first.

The UN process to determine how many of the barracked soldiers are minors and how many recruited after the peace pact - which makes their appointment null - has run into a snag after the Maoists refused to cooperate, demanding that the government announce fresh dates for the much-awaited election.

It is thought that the number of soldiers will decrease after the UN completes the verification.

The management of guerrilla arms and army - a key step in the peace process - has been fraught with dissent with both sides trying to pressure the other into making concessions.

The Koirala government refuses to announce fresh election dates till the Maoists return the public property they captured during their decade-old insurgency. However, the guerrillas are resisting the demand, though they agreed to do so while signing the peace pact.

They have also not reined in their cadres, who have been frequently taking the law into their own hands and attacking government offices.

The Maoists, on the other hand, are trying to abolish Nepal's 238-year institution of monarchy through an immediate parliamentary proclamation without waiting for the election.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • FILE PHOTO: People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in North Korea, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea.

    North Korean Parliament to discuss anti epidemic policy, rural development

    North Korea will convene two key meetings, including one to review the country's anti-epidemic policy, in coming weeks, state media said on Monday, as it claims no new COVID-19 cases since late July. The North Korean Supreme People's Assembly, the isolated state's rubber-stamp parliament, will meet on Sept. 7 to discuss law on rural development and organizational matters, according to the official KCNA.

  • The setting sun shines through a Black Lives Matter flag

    Over 600 kids strip searched by London police, mostly black boys: New data

    London's under-fire police force strip-searched more than 600 children over a two-year period, most of them black boys, according to new data released Monday. England's commissioner for children, Rachel de Souza, said she was "deeply shocked" by the figures after obtaining them from the Metropolitan police. The 15-year-old black schoolgirl was strip-searched by female officers in 2020 after being wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis, despite them being aware she was menstruating.

  • This picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon shows Palestinian rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on August 7, 2022. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP)

    Israel and Palestinian militants declare Gaza truce

    The three-day clashes echoed preludes to previous Gaza wars, though they were relatively contained as Hamas, the governing Islamist group in the Gaza Strip and a more powerful force than Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, had so far stayed out.

  • A salvo of rockets is fired from Gaza City towards Israel, on Sunday. 

    Five more killed in Gaza amid truce reports: Health ministry

    Five more people were killed in Gaza on Sunday evening, the enclave's health ministry said, amid reports a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants may be imminent. "Thirty-six martyrs, among them 11 children and four women, and 311 injured," the health ministry said, raising the death toll in the Palestinian enclave from 31 since fighting began on Friday.

  • A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points to Taiwan, in Fujian province.

    China keeps up pressure on Taiwan with fourth day of drills

    China said Sunday it carried out its fourth consecutive day of military drills in the air and sea around Taiwan in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island, despite international calls to calm the tensions. The People's Liberation Army said the exercises focused on testing its long-range air and ground strikes. It did not say if it will continue the drills after Sunday.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 08, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now