Two days after the Nepal government took control of Maoist army cantonments, combatants and weapons, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai declared that the situation of “one state, two armies” had ended. While certain “technical” issues remain, the Dr. Bhattarai asserted that the task of army integration was complete.
In a special address to the nation on Thursday evening, Dr. Bhattarai also asserted that there was now an environment to promulgate the Constitution within the stipulated deadline of May 27.
On Tuesday, following a decision of the Special Committee for the Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, the Nepal Army (NA) reached the 15 cantonments where Maoist combatants reside. NA has since taken responsibility of the security of all the cantonments as well as the over-9,000 combatants and more than 3,000 weapons locked in containers located inside the camps. Maoist commanders and combatants have co-operated with them.
Dr. Bhattarai said the Nepali peace process was at its “historic peak”, and that it would not have been possible without the “flexibility” of the Maoist party, the “responsible” outlook of the Nepal Army, and the “wisdom” of the political parties and the ‘People's Liberation Army'. He “saluted” the PLA and said it was the one group which had contributed the most towards taking the country towards a republic. He said their “greatness could not be expressed in words”, and that their “sacrifice” had enabled a “progressive Constitution”.
Dismissing the possibility of either an “incomplete” or a “federal-less” or a “reformed 1990” Constitution, the Prime Minister said the new Constitution would incorporate values of “republicanism, federalism, secularism, inclusion and democracy”.
Defending his seven-month stint in office, Dr. Bhattarai said when he took over there were concerns that Nepal may fail to complete the complex tasks of peace and Constitution writing and become a “failed state”. “Now, the mistrust between the parties is fading away and there is more trust…The country has again moved to creative and constructive politics.”
Meanwhile, in a statement, India “welcomed the agreement reached on 10 April 2012 in the constitutionally mandated Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) on taking forward the process of integration and rehabilitation of the former Maoist combatants in consonance with the past Agreements”.
Besides congratulating the Nepali leadership on “wisdom and spirit of consensus”, it expressed hope that the “Nepali-led and Nepali-driven political process would be taken to their logical end within the time-frame agreed by political parties”.