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Number of armed outfits in Nepal dwindling
Publication Date : 17-09-2012
The number of armed outfits in Nepal has significantly gone down, thanks to operations against the groups, internal rivalries in the outfits and the government’s efforts to reach out to them.
There were reportedly more than 108 groups in April last year, while now there are hardly 10 active outfits in the Tarai and the Eastern hills, reports prepared by various security agencies have revealed.
Eighteen groups have held talks with the government, laid down weapons and shunned criminal activities, they said.
In the Tarai, the Akhil Tarai Mukti Morcha (Goit), Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (Bhagat Singh), Nepal Defence Army (Ram Prasad Mainali), Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (Rajan-Mukti), Madhes Mukti Tigers (Rajan- Pratap), Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (Jwala Singh) and Samyukta Jatiya Mukti Morcha are still active.
The Limbuwan State Force and Kirat Janawadai Workers (Naveen Kirati) are active in the Eastern hills. Another outfit in the Eastern region, the Khumbuwan Mukti Morcha (Samyukta), recently held talks with the government and inked an agreement, security agencies said.
None of these outfits have gone back to criminal ways after they sat for dialogue and struck deals.
The government has classified these groups as criminal and political.
“We started holding talks with political outfits by ignoring the criminal ones. It gave very encouraging results and made it easier for us to launch operations against the criminal outfits. The number is now sharply declining,” a senior government official privy to these talks told the Post.
According to the security agencies, 18 outfits active until last year came to talks with the government, while the latter
forged agreements with 16 groups. The others vanished from the scene with the security agencies dismantling their bases and either killing or arresting their leaders.
“We have upped the presence of Armed Police Force personnel in affected areas and many leaders and cadres have been booked under various charges.
“And there are these internal rivalries in the groups. All these have led to a sharp decline in their activities,” Deputy Spokesperson at the Home Ministry Ekmani Nepal said.
However, the government is now grappling with a shortage of space in prisons. Since the government launched operations like the Special Security Plan and Small Weapons Control Programme against these outfits in 2010, authorities are finding it hard to cope with the ever increasing flow of outfit leaders and members in jails and detention centres.
“Our capacity of prisons across the country is around 6,000. Since we launched the operations against these outfits, the prisons are hosting 14,000 inmates across the country.
“This figure also shows how our plans have been successful,” said Nepal.
According to sources, most of the outfits were engaged in extortions and forced donations and in spreading terror through the use of small weapons.
According to the Home Ministry, more than 250 small weapons of various categories have been confiscated within a year. This seizure has prompted the government to bring out a plan on whether to dismantle the arms, use them or display them.
“We have prepared a policy on the arms and sent to the cabinet for approval,” Home Ministry Spokesperson Shanker Koirala said.
Govt operations, policy pay off
• Ops against groups, their internal rivalries and govt's bid to reach out to them major reasons
• While there were more than 108 groups last April, there are hardly 10 active in the Tarai and Eastern hills now
• Govt is now finding it hard to manage space for arrestees in overcrowded prisons
• 18 outfits active until last year held talks with the govt
• Govt forged agreement with 16 groups
• Others simply vanished with security agencies dismantling their bases and either killing or arresting their leaders