KATHMANDU, April 16: Three days into the retirement process, it has now become clear that the number of the Maoist combatants seeking integration is going to be far less than the allotted quota of 6,500, something expected by leaders of the major political parties, including the UCPN (Maoist).
As of Sunday, altogether 4,080 Maoist combatants chose voluntary retirement and left the cantonments with their paychecks, leaving behind only 5,625 in the cantonments, said Balananda Sharma, coordinator of the secretariat of the Special Committee.
"We are going to give the combatants two more days to choose voluntary retirement," said Sharma from the Shaktikhor cantonment, "The number may further go down in the remaining two days."
Officials at the secretariat who are in the field to offer voluntary retirement told Republica that the seven-point agreement has encouraged the combatants to opt for voluntary retirement.
"My observation more combatants have opted for voluntary retirement following the seven-point agreement," said Dipak Bhatta, a member of the secretariat who has been leading a team in Surkhet.
Though the parties have resolved contentious issues of integration, they have not fully addressed the issues like rank harmonization, age, and the future of combatants who defected to the government security agencies during the conflict.
"The seven-point agreement has disappointed the combatants. They are uncertain about their future in the army. This has prompted them to choose voluntary retirement," said another secretariat member, seeking anonymity.