Integration of Nepal’s Maoists begins amid protests
Yesterday, 459 militants were released, but they accuse the United Nations have “done everything wrong.” According to Sita Thapa, 24, “the UN failed to understand our desire to protect the nation and secure the national interests. I cannot live without politics after years of militancy.”
Chandra Prakash Khanal, deputy commander of the (Maoist) People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said, “We have done everything possible, starting with the combatants who showed an honest desire for peace. But the package given to discharged PLA fighters is not satisfactory. The government should consider things seriously.”
Problems began when the Republic of Nepal was proclaimed in 2006. The United Nations and transitional government decreed that Maoist militias would be disarmed and absorbed into the army.
In 2008, Maoists won the election under their leader Prachanda. However, President Ram Baran Yadav, fearful of too much Maoist power, refused to have Maoist fighters integrated into the army. On 4 May of last year, Prime Minister Prachanda resigned over the matter. At present, he is leading protests around the country.
In the meantime, the Nepali government has become increasingly aligned with China’s positions. After backing the “One China” policy (which de facto excludes a free Tibet), Kathmandu is considering deporting ten Tibetans accused of illegal entry into Nepal.
In past decades, Nepal had allowed Tibetan exiles to go through its territory and often granted them asylum. At present in fact, the mountain nation is home to a community of 20,000 Tibetans.
A new political orientation and a financial crisis have pushed the small nation sandwiched between China and India to back diplomatically its huge northern neighbour.
Beijing has responded appreciatively by signing lucrative contracts worth billions of dollars with its southern neighbour.