KATHMANDU, Nov 19: UNMIN has objected to participation of Maoist ex-combatants in the upcoming plenum and asked the UCPN(Maoist) to prevent their ex-fighters from attending political programs, including the plenum, as such participation is against agreements related to the peace process.
The UN political mission, which is responsible for monitoring ex-combatants in the cantonments, wrote an objection letter to Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Thursday and asked him to ensure that no combatant participates in the plenum slated to be held in Gorkha from Sunday.
"Participation of Maoist combatants in political activities, including the plenum, is contrary to the spirit of the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement," UNMIN Spokesperson Kosmos Biswokarma told Republic on the mission´s concern over Maoist ex-combatants´ participation in the plenum.
UNMIN´s objection to the Maoist plan to have over 1,000 ex-combatants in the plenum comes amidst protests from the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML against the Maoist move.
The two parties have argued that the ex-combatants should not participate in any political activity if they aspire to be considered for integration and rehabilitation under the ongoing peace process. They also raised this issue during meetings of the three parties held at Gokarna Resort.
But leaders close to Dahal have defended the ex-combatants´ participation, saying that participation will help the ex-combatatns understand their proposed integration and rehabilititation better and thus facilitate the process of their management.
However, leaders close to Vice-chairmen Mohan Baidya and Dr Baburam Bhattarai have said that the ex-fighters are going to participate to ensure endorsement of Dahal´s political paper by the plenum. As of Thursday, Baidya and Bhattarai are also due to present their separate political papers, contesting Dahal´s, at the much-awaited plenum.
"In UNMIN´s view, once under the jurisdiction of the Special Committee, Maoist army personnel cannot engage in political activities," Biswokarma said, adding, "UNMIN calls UCPN (Maoist) and other parties to the peace agreement to act in good faith towards their obligation and refrain from any activities that would have a negative impact on the peace process."
But the UCPN(Maoist) has not changed its position on ex-combatants´ participation even after UNMIN´s objection. Party leaders were not sure as of late evening Thursday whether a meeting of the party´s central committee called for Friday morning would take up UNMIN´s objection.
"We have not yet discussed UNMIN´s letter," Maoist Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha told Republica when asked whether the Maoists will prevent the ex-combatants from participating in the plenum following the UNMIN objection.
If it is against agreement, they are bond to follow the agreements. There is no statement till now from Maoist that they will participate them in this Plenum or not. But it is all Nepalese right to see what they are planning for the future of Nepal. We know NC or UML or other parties will also judge. People have to judge this carefully.