KATHMANDU, Feb 16: Top Maoist commanders have proposed to the ongoing general staff meeting of the PLA to form an organization for retired combatants, members of the YCL with a PLA past and the former disqualified combatants.
They have proposed forming an Ex-PLA Organization, which will be a party wing comprising former disqualified combatants numbering around 4,000 and the recently retired 7,365 Maoist combatants. Those who have been with the PLA for six months will also be eligible for membership of the proposed new wing.
"The commander comrades have proposed to form such an organization, underlining the need to organize those who were in the PLA," said Second Division Commander Suk Bahadur Roka Magar.
The commanders have also asked the party to create a conducive environment for them to join politics if they wish to continue in party politics. They floated the proposal in order to accommodate the aspirations of retired combatants who have been demanding to be given responsibilities in the party.
Commanders up to the rank of company commander in the PLA are considered at par with state committee members while commanders below the rank of company commander are considered equal to members of division committee branches and sub-branches in the Maoist party organization.
The commanders have also proposed forming a taskforce to find out the exact number of former PLA who are now members of the YCL to make them members of the proposed new organization. They likewise proposed giving them a relief package, as well as letters of appreciation to the YCL and PLA.
At the meeting, the commanders suggested that 13 of the cantonments should be closed down while retaining 15 cantonments to accomodate the remaining combatants who are waiting integration into the national army.
The commanders have made the same suggestion to the secretariat for the Special Committee which is currently working on how many cantonments should be closed following the retirement recently of over 7,000 Maoist combatants.
A source at the secretariat told Republica that the secretariat has accepted the suggestion of the commanders and is going to make the same recommendation to the Special Committee. The last meeting of the Special Committee had formed a taskforce to suggest how many cantonments should be closed down.
The PLA general staff meeting began on Tuesday and will continue Thursday also.