Chief of Army Staff Rukmangat Katuwal recently sent out a circular directing all army barracks, divisional headquarters, battalion, brigades, and companies to organise parties to celebrate Army Day on Shivaratri. Although the Rs 60 per diem was not increased this year, the circular said that all personnel should be fed on Army Day. Army officers in Kathmandu said the circular made it easier to enjoy the big party that was organised at the army HQ after the events were over in Tundikhel. Many army officers were seen merrily drinking away-in uniform, which is against army rules.
Only a few royalists were at the party this year. Our source in the Nepal Army told us that the royal secretaries were not invited. Jana Aastha asked royal secretary Phaniraj Pathak why he was not present at the party. "The army does not invite us anymore," he told us. But palace army secretary Tika Dhamala and ADCs were seen partying till late with the army officers. Rukmangat Katuwal also invited UNMIN head Ian Martin, Biswo Kanta Mainali of the Nepal Bar Association, and journalist Madhab Rimal. A heated discussion broke out between these three when Rimal said to Martin, "We are not satisfied with your work, because not all Maoist weapons have been locked down." In response to this Martin reportedly said, "You are close to the prime minister, why don't you go and tell him exactly that?" When it looked like the discussion was getting nasty, Katuwal tried to leave, but was pulled back in again by Rimal.