KATHMANDU, FEB 06 –
POST REPORT – BY ALOK LAMSAL
Major opposition parties, the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML, have raised serious concerns over the UCPN (Maoist) decision to take almost “half the money” given to retiring combatants.
In a meeting held on Monday at the UML headquarters in Balkhu, both the parties decided that the Maoists should abide by the past agreements instead of creating new hurdles in the peace process.
The parties also served the government a seven-day ultimatum to create favourable environment for constitution-writing and a logical end to the ongoing peace process.
The parties have blamed Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai for the controversial decision to “snatch” combatants’ money. They also sought clarification from the Maoist party on the matter.
After the meeting, UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said it was against the peace agreement to take a portion of the money given to combatants on retirement. The matter needs clarification at an SC meeting, he demanded.
In a joint statement, both the parties said the government’s decision on PLA combatants was without consultation with other parties. “Though the government said it would consult with Nepal Army officials about combatants’ farewell, it has made the decision unilaterally against the provisions of the constitution and the seven-point agreement,” NC Vice Chairman Ram Chandra Poudel stated.
The statement also termed the government’s decision to forcefully take away combatants’ cheques a “shameless” act. NC accused the Maoists of “trying to impose their arbitrary decision in the issue settled by the Special Committee”. “There was an agreement to hold a meeting before instructing Army officials for the integration of combatants but the prime minister has not abided by it. There has been no discussion with party leaders and no information has been passed to members of the Special Committee regarding letters sent to Nepal Army,” read the statement. “Any move to provide extra perks to combatants in the name of addressing their concerns without political consensus is unacceptable to us.
We, deeply concerned about the Maoist attempt to forcefully collect money, cheques and identity cards from the combatants, urge the Maoists to stop the deed.” “We urge the prime minister and the UCPN (Maoist) to start the combatant integration process by Magh end [mid-February], complete fundamental issues of peace process within seven days, scrap the Cabinet decision to legitimise land transactions carried out by their so called People’s Government, end the stalemate in constitution making and create an environment for national consensus.
We would like to clarify that we will be forced to take a serious step if the demands and feelings of Nepalis are ignored.”
Published in The Kathmandu Post