-ANI): Nepali government will resume the integration process of former Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoists (UCPN-M) combatants willing to serve in the Nepal Army (NA) on Wednesday.
According to Tuesday's The Kathmandu Post daily, a selection board comprising representatives from the NA and the Ministry of Defence, on Monday decided to kick start the process by checking the former combatants' eligibility.
The NA will begin bearing tests on the former fighters at their respective cantonment sites from Wednesday according to Dwarika Prasad Acharya, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and a member of the selection board formed by the prime minister-led Special Committee.
"The test for combatants aspiring for junior ranks as well as officers will be conducted together," Acharya was quoted by the daily as saying.
NA Spokesperson Ramindra Chhetri said preparations are underway to begin the process.
Acharya said the Public Service Commission will be involved only in the written examination and interviews. "The written examination will be held after the bearing test. We will soon fix the date for the exams," he said. The government has already dispatched questionnaires to the NA barracks-turned cantonment sites.
Many of the 3,123 combatants willing to join the army are likely to switch over to voluntary retirement after the selection process begins, a commander of the People's Liberation Army's Second Division camp in Sindhuli said. "The uncertainty and the humiliation triggered by administrative procedures has discouraged us from joining the Army," said Commander Suk Bahadur Rokka Magar.
While the UCPN (M) is in favor of referring combatants for integration, some commanders have recommended that the party send them for voluntary retirement en masse. "Retirement is a far better choice than the humiliating integration," said Magar.
"I think less than 1,000 former combatants will join the Army under the current selection process." (Xinhua-ANI)