As PN went to press, the Nepal peace process entered a state of crisis. On 16 April, the government tore up the comprehensive peace accord that ended the Nepali civil war in November 2006, as the five parties which dominate the coalition government agreed to integrate only 3,000 of the 19,600 Maoist ex-guerrillas recognised by the UN.
The parties justified their decision by referring to the 3,475 weapons handed in by the Maoists, now held in UN-sealed containers, saying: “one weapon, one soldier”. The Maoists responded that many weapons had been lost or destroyed. Many suspect that Maoist weapons have been hidden.
The 2006 peace accord specified the setting up of “a special committee in order to inspect, integrate and rehabilitate the Maoist combatants”.
There is nothing in the accord allowing for partial integration.
On 17 April, prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal (of the mainstream communist party, the UML) proposed three paths for ex-guerrillas: voluntary retirement (with a grant for most folk of Rs 1.5 lakhs, roughly £1,300); rehabilitation (in education or other programmes, with up to Rs 2.52 lakhs, around £2,300, over a span of three years); or (for 3,000) integration into the security forces. A new constitution is due to be agreed by 28 May. This is now impossible.