KATHMANDU, Feb 5: Less than a month before its exit from power, the Sher Bahadur Deuba government on Monday decided to declare all civil servants, security personnel, public sector employees and government teachers killed during the decade-long Maoist armed insurgency as martyrs.
Despite widespread criticism over the declaring of martyrs without any criteria, the care-taker government has taken a policy decision to declare another batch of martyrs. The decision comes less than a month before the formation of a new government in line with the fresh election mandate.
A cabinet meeting held at the official residence of the prime minister at Baluwatar Monday decided to declare Army, Police, Armed Police Force and National Information Department personnel, public sector employees and government teachers killed during the 1996-2006 Maoist insurgency as martyrs en mass, informed Minister for Information and Communications Mohan Basnet. "The exact number of civil servants losing their lives during the insurgency is not known. The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers will write to the government agencies concerned to furnish the number," said Basnet.
The cabinet last month had declared 38 victims killed by the Maoists in the Badarmudhe bus attack including security personal as martyrs and recent cabinet meetings also declared additional martyrs.
Earlier, 1,619 individuals killed during the decade-long insurgency were declared martyrs at the initiation of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction. Later in 2009, the government led by Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal decided to declare as martyrs 6,500 people, mostly Maoist combatants and cadres killed during the insurgency.
The exact number of martyrs in the country is not in the records of any government agency, but an official of the Home Ministry informed Republica last month that the ministry has been working to update the record of all the martyrs declared so far. The official further informed that the total number of martyrs may exceed 7,000.
The meeting also decided to extend the term of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission for Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons for a year. Earlier, the cabinet had decided to amend the relevent Act through an ordinance as the last extension is expiring on February 9.