Nepal: New Code of Conduct Attempts to Divorce PLA from UCPN
Posted by n3wday on January 28, 2010
This article was published on My Republica.
Code for PLA bars flag, Dahal pix, political activity
KATHMANDU, Jan 19: The Special Committee on Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist Combatants on Monday finalized a code of conduct that bars the People´s Liberation Army (PLA) from involvement in political activities of the UCPN-M.
The code had been gathering dust at the Special Committee since September after the UCPN-M expressed reservations over it. The UCPN-M had even removed Dr Indrajit Rai, its member in the technical committee that prepared the code of conduct on September 24, 2009, for agreeing to the code. “We have finalized the code of conduct for the PLA,” a member of the Special Committee told myrepublica.com on condition of anonymity as the Committee´s own code does not allow him to speak to media.
Emerging out of the meeting Monday evening, Spokesperson of the Special Committee Madhav Ghimire told journalists that discussions on the code of conduct prepared by the technical committee have concluded.
The agreement on the much-awaited code has moved forward the slow pace of work on integrating and rehabilitating 19,602 Maoist combatants verified by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in December 2007. The combatants are currently living in cantonments monitored by UNMIN, the special political mission of the UN supporting the peace process. The integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist army personnel is at the center of the three-year-old peace process that the government wants to complete by May 15.
The agreed code of conduct prohibits members of the PLA from attending political programs of the UCPN-M and Maoist leaders will not be allowed to make political speeches inside PLA cantonments, said another member of the Special Committee.
Under the code, combatants will have to stop singing the international communist song in the cantonments as they have been doing every day. It also requires the PLA to remove the pictures of national and international communist leaders including Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Marx and Lenin, and their communist flags. It also requires combatants to erase communist slogans, including that of Dahal, painted inside the cantonments. They will have to stop saluting their leaders in the communist style once the code comes into effect, said the members.
Monday´s meeting also gave the final touch to a mechanism for supervision, control and direction of the PLA, according to another member of the Special Committee. As per the agreement, a secretariat will be established under the Special Committee to oversee tasks relating to supervision, control and direction of the PLA.
“The modalities of the mechanism would be discussed at the next meeting of the Special Committee,” said Maoist representative in the Special Committee Barsha Man Pun. The next meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, said Pun. Pun further said that the chain of command of the PLA would be under that mechanism.
The delay in finalizing the code of conduct and the mechanism for supervision, control and direction have affected the Special Committee´s work on giving final shape to the plan of action on integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, said another member in the Special Committee. The plan aims at completing the integration and rehabilitation process within 112 days. But Pun said that discussions on the plan were at the final stage. “It will be finalized at the political level,” he said.
However, a knowledgeable source said the Maoists are of the stance that the exact number of the PLA to be integrated in the security forces, including the army, should be determined before taking any decision on enforcing the code of conduct and the mechanism for supervision, control and direction of the PLA. But the prime minister and Nepali Congress representatives in the Special Committee want the Maoists to agree to the code and the mechanism prior to a decision on the number of PLA troops to be considered for integration.
Meanwhile, the High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM), which is meeting on Tuesday morning, is likely to take up the issue of number of PLA to be consider for integrated in the security forces, said the source.
The source further told myrepublica.com that the prime minister has already asked Girija Prasad Koirala, who heads the HLPM, to take a decision on the number as early as possible.
“The earlier the number is decided, the earlier we will be able to finalize the code of conduct, the mechanism for supervision, control and direction, and the plan of action on integration,” said a member close to a Madhesi party.
He also warned that progress in the work of the Special Committee would largely depend on how many PLA combatants would be considered for integration. “If the HLPM decides to integrate a reasonable number of combatants, the work of the Special Committee will move smoothly,” the member said.