Nepal Today

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Special committee within 15 days for Nepal Army, PLA integration

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: Amidst uncertainty and opposition, PLA Chief Nanda Kishore Pun ‘Pasang’, who recently took over from PM Prachanda, says a ‘ special committee’ will be formed within 15 days to integrate the rebel and state armies.
He said in an interview with Samya, ”There’s no alternative to integration. It’s essential for the peace process.”
Pasang said there should be a single command for the integrated armies.
“Nepal Army has six and we have seven divisions and deputy commanders. They should be integrated from the top,” he said.
He claimed Maoist combatants are qualified for integration.
“In our opinion, the first qualification is physical health. It’s useless to say that an army that fought from the tarai to the mountains is not qualified,” the Maoist army chief claimed. “The 10-year people’s war has proved who is qualified for the army.”
“The PLA has won politically [against Nepal Army] because right now a republic has been established; monarchy has fallen,” Pasang added.
The PLA chief said 4,408 child soldiers identified by the UN should be considered for integration; the PLA strength stands at 19,604.
Pasang ruled out immediate reduction in the strength of integrated armies whose strength should be 115,000.
“If the army strength is reduced right now, problems could arise. The force should be reduced while making a national security policy,” the former rebel military leader said.
“The fusion of the two armies will make the nation strong,” denying integration will create problems and rebellion in the state army.
He said armies should be integrated within six months and added,“Otherwise, the peace process will be derailed.”
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Govt. considering declaring red light in capital outskirts: Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: To pacify protests of workers and owners of night clubs in the capital, Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam said he is considering declaring some outskirts of the capital red light areas.
“I am considering declaring red light areas for them to continue their trade,’ identifying . Nagarkot as one such area in an interview with Samya.
Local administration banned operation of nightclubs and casinos after 11 PM with the Maoist-led government takeover.
But Samir Gurung, Coordinator of Night Industry Management Association, revealed police and YCL take cuts from clubs for their smooth functioning.
“We have to pay police large sums of money. Without their permission and nod, nobody can run such facilities,” Gurung said in reply to a question whether naked dances are performed with police concurrence.
“’Monthly payments are being made [to YCL] after they started putting obstructions,” Gurung disclosed.
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Cabinet accepts resignation of Matrika Prasad Yadav

Kathmandu, 20 Sept: The cabinet Saturday accepted the resignation tendered by controversial Land Reforms Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav Friday.
Yadav was involved in the armed seizure of Maoist-seized land restored to owners in Siraha by police this week by evicting settlers.
CPN (Maoist) had asked Yadav to publicly apologize; Yadav refused.
The cabinet took the decision before PM Prachanda flew for New York to attend a UN general assembly session.
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