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Withholding allowance

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

After accusing the Maoists of exaggerating the number of combatants in UNMIN camps last week, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is now looking into blocking the combatants’ monthly allowance, Kantipur reports:

The government has reported that it might stop monthly payments to Maoists combatants stationed in temporary camps. Saying that the Maoist party has been uncooperative in integration and rehabilitation process of the combatants, the government is looking into withholding their payments scheduled to be distributed next week, a source has said.

The government says the number of combatants living in the camps has decreased but distributing the fund without an exact number may lead to misuse.

Earlier this week, the government requested UNMIN to release the exact number of Maoist combatants living in the cantonments. UNMIN declined and released a statement saying:

Under the [Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies], responsibility for management of the Nepal Army and the Maoist army lies with their respective chain of command. UNMIN has not been requested to manage directly any army personnel, cantonments or barracks.

It is also the responsibility of both parties to provide UNMIN with accurate figures of the number of personnel under their command. In October 2009, UNMIN formally requested from the Nepal Army and Maoist army updated figures of their respective strength, through the Joint Monitoring Coordination Committee (JMCC), a mechanism chaired by UNMIN with membership of both armies, which discusses compliance with the AMMAA. The Nepal Army and the Maoist army have yet to furnish UNMIN with updated figures.

The government had also asked UNMIN to provide details, including names and addresses, of the recently discharged Maoist combatants. The government said it wanted the details for record keeping, and to check their whereabouts. UNMIN says:

Persons disqualified in the UN-led verification process were no longer a part of the Maoist army and were to leave the cantonments immediately. Their whereabouts were not subject to monitoring.

Before threatening to withhold the combatants’ monthly allowance, Prime Minister Nepal had accused the Maoists of obstructing development works. He had said:

“Instead of helping in the development of the country, the Maoists are creating new obstructions. They are destroying the future of our children.”

Nepali Congress was right behind Prime Minister Nepal as the party’s spokesperson, Arjun Narsingh KC, accused the Maoists of  obstructing the constitution building process.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal was in disagreement. Speaking in Bhaktapur today, he said peace process and constitution building are the two main agendas of the party.

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