Brigadiers Rana Dhoj Limbu and Dilip Rayamajhi handed in their letters of resignation this week, saying that the military has become politicised and that standard rules for promotion are not being followed.
The trigger for their resignations was the promotion by the new and improved democratic army of five generals from one- to two-star. These were Toran Jung Bahadur Singh, Pawan Jung Thapa, Gaurab Shamshere Rana, Anil Jung Thapa, and Ananta Thebe. Limbu and Rayamajhi were also in line for promotion but the government denied them the move up, saying that since they have not taken the NDS [National Defence Academy] exam, they were ineligible.
Shortly before this incident, however, Brigadier General Sarad Neupane, who is rumoured to be close to Nepali Congress and who has also not taken the NDS exam, was promoted. This discrepancy is making army officers unhappy and proves that the military is so much under the influence of politics now that it will even promote under-qualified officers. The Chief of Army Staff has not been able to follow standard military regulations relating to transfer and promotion of officers, and he is slowly losing influence inside the military.
Although the process of transfer of divisional chiefs has been completed, Chatra Man Singh Gurung, who has been the divisional chief of the mid-western division for 19 months, is yet to be transferred. Gaurab Rana, who has been in the army head office for a long time, was to be transferred, and Gurung brought in. Rana is understood to be related to Pawan Kumar Pandey, personal secretary to the COAS, and an understanding between the two caused the delay. Before this, Gurung was replaced by Rana as Commandant of the Cadet School. Two days after this decision was made, Rukmangat Katuwal was pressured to send Rana to Pokhara instead.
As all this happens, Rana is travelling around the world. He spent a week in New Delhi attending the wedding of Pashupati Shamshere Rana's daughter Devayani. Then he was off to Britain, and is scheduled to soon visit the United States.