Nepali Times
"Our feelings are hurt"

A few days after Baburam Bhattarai became prime minister last month, the keys to weapons containers were handed over. To gauge the mood in the Maoist camps about the peace process, Gopal Gartaula interviewed the division commander of the ex-guerrillas at the Chulachuli Cantonment in Jhapa, Yam Bahadur Adhikari.

Nepali Times: Why has there been such a backlash against what is seen as a largely symbolic handover of the container keys to the government? After all, your party heads the government.
Yam Bahadur Adhikari
: It's natural to be upset, the handover really hurt our feelings. It has left a bad taste in the mouth. But it is a party decision and we have to swallow it.

Is this a part of the disarmament process?
Look, we are a people's army. An army has weapons, it has combat uniforms. We will not agree to DDR (disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation). We will go with our weapons and uniforms into the national army. That is what we have understood by the word integration. There can't be integration without our weapons, we won't let that happen.

The politics in Kathmandu is deadlocked over this issue of weapons and integration. How is it ever going to be resolved if you take that line?
You may be right. But what we understand by integration is that both armies are involved. After the modalities are worked out, we have agreed to be a part of a new directorate. We want to be integrated together, meaning a collective integration.

And if that isn't possible?
You can debate this, but that is what will happen. We haven't thought about alternatives.

So why all the fuss between your leaders about the handover of keys?
I told you: the handover of keys made it look like a defeat for us. It hurt our feelings. But maybe as we understand more about why it was done our anger will diminish.

How were the last five years for you in the cantonment here?
Good question. I was going to tell the media about this even if you'd not asked. We came here in 2006, and it was only supposed to be for six months. The term kept getting extended from the political level. It is almost five years. It is a hard life. The allowance has gone up from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000. We have only Rs 70 per day for food. It is difficult to survive with that.

Your leaders have become ministers and prime ministers. Why didn't you ask them?
It is a bit difficult for me to answer that. Yes, of course, we asked them. Repeatedly. They just listen. We told this not just to Girija Prasad Koirala and Ram Chandra Poudel, we even told this to our own leaders, Prachanda, Janardan Sharma, Barshaman Pun every time we meet them. But nothing happened. If we have to keep living in this state, the outrage will grow.

So they have forgotten you after they get to power?
It may take some more time for me to reach that conclusion. Let's see.

Read also:
"We don't regret laying down arms", DEWAN RAI
Ex-fighters are determined to see the integration process through, despite opposition from hardliners

The next People's War?, SIMON ROBINS in BARDIYA
A significant faction of the Maoist party remains committed to armed revolution

Key questions, ANURAG ACHARYA
Handing over the keys to weapons containers has sparked an open mutiny in the Maoist party

1. Arthur
An interesting interview!

Isn't it about time Nepali Times gave up on pushing for "disarmament and demobilization" and accepted that the only solution must be integration as agreed?

 If merely handing over keys hurts feelings, what chance is there of actually humiliating the PLA in the way that anti-Maoists hope?

The choices are to face an election with an agreed constitution and an integrated national army or to face an election with two armies.

Either way NC and UMLs lose, but there is much less risk of bloodshed if they accept that future changes of government will be made through elections.

Any realistic hope of maintaining establishment rule through armed force ended with the peace agreement. Dragging things out is now completely pointless.

2. jange
Awww. The poor darlings. Their feelings have been hurt.

What were their feeling while murdering, looting and extorting?

The allowance has gone up from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000. We have only Rs 70 per day for food.

I presume this is per month. So, where does the rest of the money go?

3. Kale Rai
#2 Jange

Netako petama ! Dal bhat tarkari aru sabai sarkari. THat is communism.

4. Ale

Netako petma,! then why don,t they revolt?

5. Tashi lama
"Our Feelings are hurt" How true it is to Mr. Yam when the keys of their arms storage goes from their hand. Yam talks of their hurtful feeling , what about those thousands of Nepalese who are physically hurt by those deadly weapons, in which thousands lost their lives with severe pain, thousands became painfully disabled, and some are still suffering till to this day painfully. It is matter of laugh for us, when they talk of their feelings hurt! Leaving aside thinking of how these weapons inflicts severe pain and suffering on others! 

Mr. Yam Bahadur Adhikari would truly feel the real pain of hurting, ones such weapons injures him physically, but we know these cunning's never have to go to combat zone! it is because innocents are their with their chest open most of the time!

In realistic issue, in the land of Buddha's birth, weapons have no role to play again at all! If you believe that political power grows from the barrel of gun, it is just out dated thought and you are just no more then a bloody fool!

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)