Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Disqualified PLA Fighter: “I Don’t Need Rehabilitation”

Posted by Ka Frank on February 9, 2010

This appeared in Irin News on February 5, 2010.

Shanta Karki: “I don’t need rehabil-itation”

SINDHULI – Shanta Karki was barely 13 when she volunteered to be a child soldier for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Maoists’ military wing in Nepal, in 2003. 

She was one of around 3,000 soldiers who were disqualified from the PLA for being an underage combatant when the Maoists signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 2006, ending a decade-long conflict. 

Now 20,

Shanta was part of the first batch of former child soldiers to be released from Maoist army cantonments in January 2010. Returning home for the first time since joining the PLA, she will participate in government and 

UN rehabilitation programmes, but told IRIN she was unsure of her prospects: 

“After seven years of my life with the PLA, I feel very bad for being expelled like this. I have been deprived of helping to liberate my people from this ongoing repression. 

“I don’t know whether my family or village will accept me or not. I have yet to find that out. 

“I joined the war when I was still in school. I witnessed a lot of repression of the poor [and] this provoked me to do something when I was still a young girl.

I have been to the battlefield with a gun. I will continue my life with the Maoists until we have total liberation. 

“I’m not keen on rehabilitation. I don’t need rehabilitation. I’m already standing on my own two feet. The UN rehabilitation package is not going to make things better for me. They want to train us to weave baskets and make candles. They want to sponsor my schooling, but I am already educated. 

“I don’t want to spend my life making baskets.

My ambitions are in politics and in the security sector. After fighting for my people, how can I just weave baskets now?” 

“The government should do more to help in the welfare and future of soldiers like us by nationalizing the Nepal Army, and integrating Maoist soldiers into the establishment. They say we’re not qualified, since we work with a Maoist ideology. 

“I will continue working as [a] political cadre for my party.”

One Response to “Disqualified PLA Fighter: “I Don’t Need Rehabilitation””

  1. 1,700 veterans of the war, having spent the past three years studying Marxism in the cantonments, are about to join the YCL and other party organisations.

    ********************************************************

    Maoists plan to recruit discharged combatants in YCL
    Wednesday, 10 February 2010 09:25

    The Unified CPN (Maoist) has adopted a policy to recruit the PLA combatants recently discharged from various cantonments across the country in its youth wing Young Communist League (YCL), Kantipur daily reported.

    The party has taken such policy as the discharged combatants are young and are former combatants. However, they will not be forced to join politics or join the party if they want to lead a private life, Maoist leaders say.

    “We have instructed the local party bodies to keep in touch with the discharged combatants,” PLA deputy commander and spokesperson Chandra Dev Khanal told Kantipur. “They can work in whichever sister organisation of the party they wish. We don’t plan them to recruit in a single organisation.”

    Those who do not want to join politics can undergo trainings to be provided by UNICEF and live private life, he said. Khanal opines, it will be easy for the discharged combatants if they are employed in something similar to what they were doing.

    Maoist politburo member and spokesperson Dina Nath Sharma said, “We will employee our friends discharged from the cantonments in various sister organizations including the YCL.”

    More than 2000 combatants out of 4000 who were disqualified by second UNMIN verification have been discharged from various cantonments across the country in the past month.

    About 1,700 combatants had already left the cantonments showing dissatisfaction with the official discharge process. nepalnews.com

    http://www.nepalnews.com/main/index….ts-in-ycl.html

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