Pratikchhya, a Maoist commander of Shaktikhor cantonment, had to wait for five long years to choose between joining the army and going for rehabilitation in the society. She finally chose a rehabilitation package. A mother of a three-month boy, Pratikchhya sees rehabilitation as her best option.
Settlement of the issue of Maoist combatants was one of the major components of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the government and Maoists in November 21, 2007. After a long delay, the process of reintegration has begun. Due to uncertainties in the packages, an overwhelming number of Maoist combatants preferred integration in security forces.
In the last one week, a majority of combatants expressed their willingness to join the army rather than go for a rehabilitation package.
“Because of the uncertainty over the rehabilitation package, a large number of combatants chose to go for reintegration in security forces,” said Balananda Sharma, chairman of the committee overseeing the management of combatants.
While there is a kind of jubilation among combatants in the camps after the beginning of the reintegration process, despair and pain show up in life in the society. Even after five years of signing the agreement, the government is yet to pass the Truth and Reconciliation Bill, which is necessary to heal the wounds of the decade long violent conflict.
More than 15,000 people lost their lives in the violent conflict and thousands of others got injured. The country has also seen a massive devastation of state’s property worth millions of rupees.
Although political parties are not tired of highlighting the importance of peace in the national context, formally, they seemed to have forgotten to get down to real business. Along with integration, UCPN-Maoist leader Prachanda and Nepali Congress general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula joined a program to hand over the confiscated property to their rightful owners. But hitches showed up. While time will tell how the peace process will move from this point, another major task before the nation, the constitution writing, is fraught with problems as well.