RUKUM, Feb 12: Wounded and disabled Maoist ex-combatants of the fifth division in Rolpa, who opted voluntary retirement, have warned of a phase-wise protest if the government and the Maoist party did not address the issues incorporated in the nine-point memorandum submitted by them in November.
Receiving the memorandum at Dahaban, Rolpa, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had assured them that the government and the party would address their concerns.
The ex-combatants have formed a struggle committee headed by Khushiram Chaudhari. There are four hundred wounded and disabled former Maoist rebels in the fifth division. Chaudhari said the combatants would not vacate the cantonment until their demands are met.
"If we run out of the money provided by the government, we will sell our property to stay put, but we will not vacate the cantonment," he said.
He also warned that they would self-immolate if their demands are not addressed.
Chaudhari said that the party should not forget the contributions they made during the war time. "We spent half of our life time fighting the war. Where should we go now with this disability?" said Rajendra Rawat, who was wounded during the insurgency, adding, "If the government and the party did not do anything for us, we will embrace ´martyrdom´ in the cantonment itself."
He stated that the government should provide additional package to the wounded and disabled combatants because, unlike other physically fit former combatants who also opted for voluntary retirement, they cannot run businesses.
"We have been left in the lurch despite our party leading the government," said Rawat.
In the memorandum submitted in November, the ex-combatants had demanded that they be provided a letter of appreciation and a lump sum amount ranging from Rs 500,000 to 800,000 based on their ranks and UNMIN verification.
They had also demanded that the wounded and disabled ex-combatants be categorized based on their conditions and those whose conditions are deemed critical be provided life-time treatment, pension and residence.