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One weapon, one combatant

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

The government has unveiled a strategy to integrate as many Maoist combatants into the army as there are arms in the Maoist arsenal. According to Kantipur:

Peace Minister Rakam Chemjong said the integration would be based on ‘one combatant one weapon’ theory. “UNMIN has verified that there are 3,400 weapons, so only as many combatants can be integrated,” he said.

Maoist leader Dev Gurung rejected the proposal saying, “The size of the army has not yet been decided. This is a technical matter. But we will not accept one combatant, one weapon policy at any cost. That is against the peace agreement.”

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal tried to bolster his plan by revealing that the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had made an agreement with Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to integrate only 3,000 combatants. Nagarik writes:

Prime Minister Nepal said that he had asked Koirala and Dahal to remember their old agreement during the latest three-party meeting. “Prachandaji, didn’t you say we had to integrate 3,000 combatants,” Nepal quoted Koirala as saying. “Then Dahal said, ‘can we integrate a little more Girijababu? Maybe four or five thousand.’”

Meanwhile, Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal enforced a banda in the capital today, demanding a referendum on constitutional monarchy, federalism and secularism. The party, led by former home minister Kamal Thapa, has claimed that more than 500 party members were arrested during the banda. Nagarik writes:

Kamal Thapa was the much-despited home minister in King Gyanendra’s cabinet during the People’s Movement in 2006. Thapa split from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party over disagreement about joining the royal cabinet. He ran for elections after People’s Movement seeking a referendum on the monarchy, federalism and secularism. He was defeated but his party got four seats in the Constituent Assembly through proportional representation quota.

A big day for religion today, as Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala was heard saying that “the demand for the Hindu state has to be incorporated in the new constitution.” The Himalayan Times writes:

Addressing the concluding ceremony of a 10-day-long Health Penance Camp organised by Shree Ramanandacharya Sewapith in Chataradham in Sunsari, she said, “Over 85 per cent of the population are Hindus. Constitution written ignoring the feelings of the majority will trigger catastrophe in the country,” adding, “Constitution framed without encompassing the grievances and agenda of Hindus would be futile and meaningless”.

The deputy prime minsiter then worshipped a buffalo to ward off bad omen and had her future read by an astrologer. She was told she “has good fortune for one and half year more….[and that] she will have more chances of visiting foreign countries.”

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