Nepal’s nod to Gurkha recruitment angers other MaoistsApril 15th, 2009 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, April 15 (IANS) When he led a 10-year guerrilla war against the kingdom’s powerful monarchy, Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda pledged to stop the ’shameful’ recruitment of Nepalis as mercenaries in the British and Indian armies.
However, his turning back on the promise after becoming Nepal’s first Maoist prime minister has now angered the Maoist parties in other countries, especially in violence-torn Afghanistan.
The underground Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan has begun a campaign against the Nepali Maoists in the global Maoist community, including the Revolutionary International Movement (RIM), of which the Nepal Maoists are a proud member.
“Currently, the chairman of the (Unified) Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is the prime minister of Nepal,” the Afghan Maoists wrote in an open letter of protest to the Nepal Maoists.
“The Ministry of Defence belongs to a leader of the Nepal Maoists. The Ministry of Finance and other critical positions in the cabinet belong to it. In short, the coalition government is under the leadership of the party.
“However, the citizens of this government are part and parcel of occupying forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq (and) a party that led the People’s War for 10 years in Nepal now shamefully agrees with the occupation forces and implements their plans.”
The Afghan Maoists are objecting to the deployment of Gurkha soldiers from Nepal in the UN contingents deployed in Afghanistan as well as the British Army.
They are also criticising the employment of hundreds of Nepalis as armed security guards.
“(Previously), Nepalis in Afghanistan worked only with the American private security companies,” the protest letter said. “Now, in Shindand Airport (in western Afghanistan) they are under the direct command of US ‘Special Forces’. In Kandahar, they ‘work’ with Canadian forces, at the Provincial Reconstruction Team headquarters, in Ghazni they are associated with Polish forces, in Kabul and other regions they are linked with American private security companies.”
The Afghan Maoists have raised the issue at various Maoist platforms, like RIM and the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties of South Asia, focusing on the poll pledge by the Nepal Maoist leaders last year that “the shameful tradition like Gurkha recruitment centre, in which Nepali citizens are recruited in foreign army, should be ended and reverent and productive employment should be arranged for them within the country.”
Nepal’s ruling party is now likely to face fresh anger from its peers across the globe over the ongoing visit of British Undersecretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans Kevan Jones.
Jones arrived in Kathmandu Tuesday on a five-day visit for talks about the British Gurkhas.
Prachanda and his party were condemned as ‘revisionists’ by other Maoist parties in February after he assured a delegation of British parliamentarians headed by John Stanley that his government would not ban Gurkha recruitment in the British Army and, instead, called it another factor that strengthened bilateral ties between Nepal and Britain.
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