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Thread: "Antique Weapons Were Sold For Peanuts"

  1. #1
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    "Antique Weapons Were Sold For Peanuts"

    Antique Weapons Sold For Peanuts

    From the Kathmandu Post:

    "KATHMANDU, AUG 09 -
    The revelation that hundreds of tonnes of military antiques (some around 200 years old) were sold at a throwaway price to raise money for the purchase of modern weaponry to fight the then Maoist rebels has stirred a fresh controversy—drawing widespread condemnation and forcing a parliamentary panel to call a hearing.

    The State Affairs Committee (SAC) on Tuesday decided to call senior defence and Army officials to testify on the 10 year-old decision taken by the then Nepal government in 2000 to sell 430 tonnes of military antiques to US-based military collector, the International Military Antiques.

    The SAC has asked Defence Minister Bishnu Poudel, Defence Secretary Navin Kumar Ghimire and Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Chhatra Man Singh Gurung to appear before the committee with information on the sale of those military treasures.

    The decision comes a day after Kantipur Television ran an investigative story on how weapons of archeological value were auctioned off for US$ 5 million and traded to the US company.

    “Our serious attention has been drawn by media reports exposing the sale of armaments of historical and archeological importance, which if true, damages the reputation of the country,” said SAC Chairman Ramnath Dhakal. “We will determine our course of action after the hearing.”

    Officials at the Ministry of Defence and the Army Headquarters were on Tuesday busy searching for documents related to the deal.

    Defence Ministry Spokesman Dwarika Prasad Acharya said the ministry was holding discussions with Nepal Army to bring the facts to light.

    The Army had nothing much to say. “Everything took place in line with a decision taken by the governments at that time. The detailed information is not with me,” said Army Spokesman Ramindra Chhetri. Former officials of the royal palace and the then Royal Nepal Army confirmed the sale. The “filthy and damaged” caches of weapons stored at Lagan Silekhana were auctioned off to a US-based company by the Girija Prasad Koirala-led government, according to them. “The palace, the then government and the Army, everyone had consented to that deal,” said former General Bibek Shah, who then headed the military secretariat at the palace. The old weapons stored improperly, covered in layers of dust and unused were sold to buy modern weapons for the national army, according to him.

    “No one should take the incident as an attempt to sell the country’s history,” he said. “The decision was taken to arrange money to buy weapons for the Army that was preparing to step in to counter the armed conflict.”

    Officials had then planned to sell the Army’s 303 rifles to the Nepal Police, the SLRs to the Armed Police Force and buy modern rifles for the then Royal Nepal Army. “Governments during that time were allocating more budget to the police than the Army. There was no proper way to save those ancient weapons from water, dust and heat and their value was declining,” argued retired Maj Gen Pradip Pratap Bam Malla, who was appointed the Director of Military Operations after the deal was signed. Prajawal Shumsher Rana was the chief of the Army while Kumar Phudung was the Master of General Ordinance during that time. Bhusan Dahal, who hosts the popular television programme ‘Fireside’ that revealed the export of the military antiques, said the sale of antique weaponry at the price of scrap metal threatens to wipe a portion of history. “The antiques were directly related to the history of Nepal and it is our duty to inform the people about how they were undermined and traded to foreigners,” he said."
    mark@swordforum.com

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  2. #2
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    Considering the horrible condition of most of that stuff, I think the Nepalese have no case...just whining.

    Dale

  3. #3
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    Most countries had dumped their antiquated weapons many years ago. It is only once you don't have something that you miss it. The Nepalese arms are not gone, but available to anyone who is willing to pay a high price for arms in usually poor condition. Arms are cleaned with wire wheels, they should be left dirty so the collector can take more care preserving them. There are some good one of a kind items, would be great to rummage through IMAs wharehouse!

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