KATHMANDU, Dec 25: Discharged Maoist combatants on Tuesday complained that the political parties have provided mere lip service to address their concerns despite their assurance for the same on a number of occasions.
The discharged Maoist combatants, who were released from cantonment on technical grounds without any compensation, also warned that they would be forced to internationalize their issue should the political parties continue to ignore their genuine demands.
Addressing a function organized by the Discharged People’s Liberation Army- Nepal (DPLAN) and Nepal Peace-building Initiative (NPI) in Kathmandu to discuss how political parties can help to resolve the issue of former child soldiers in Nepal, head of DPLAN Ramesh Basel said it is unfortunate that some 10 former child soldiers have been jailed on fake accusations in connection with the conflict-era cases.
“Leaders of all political parties are aware of our problems. However, they have constantly failed to take any concrete actions,” complained Basel. “Of course, we are in favor of settling the issue domestically. But leaders do not seem to be interested to that end.”
Conflict analyst Bishnu Raj Upreti said that the attempt to go outside the country to find solution to their grievances is not a good idea. “International Community will manipulate the issue of child soldiers for their personal interests rather than for the sake of the child soldiers,” he said.
A senior leader of ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Suresh Ale Magar said that the issue of child soldiers is a part of Nepal’s peace process and that until and unless these issues are resolved no one can say that Nepal’s peace process is complete.
“Both the state and the Maoists should recognize the contribution made by former child soldiers in establishing republican setup in Nepal and act accordingly,” he said.
NCP lawmaker Deepak Prakash Bhatt said that it is not good to see some deputy commanders of the Maoist PLA becoming ministers while foot soldiers are deprived of any compensation. Bhatt also said that he would raise the issue of child soldiers in parliament.
Arjun Narsingh KC, senior leader of the main opposition party Nepali Congress, said that the NC is very supportive toward the peace process including the issue of former child soldiers. Since the party that used these children during war is in power now, they have been urging the party to take some affirmative steps on their behalf.