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Although only in his twenties, his face has begun to wrinkle and his lips have become chapped. Neither does he have clothes warm enough to keep out the cold of the chilly winter nor does he posses shoes. Moreover, he has not eaten anything for the last three days. But, despite being in such a condition, Harka Bahadur Bohara is forced to dig trenches for Maoists here in Darchula.

Bohara has come here all the way from Limi VDC in Humla district after 28-day rigorous walk. Along with Bohara, there are more than 200 such people from Kalikot, Jumla, Accham, Bajura and many other districts, who are ordered to dig trenches of different shapes and sizes by Maoists in various parts of the district.

The ordeal that we had to go through while coming his beyond anyone’s imagination,” recalled Bohara. According to him, they had to walk around-the-clock and were give just noodles for food, and that too in insufficient quantity.

“We have to set off before dawn with a water jug and spade,” said Birendra Nepali who has come here from Jubika in Kalikot. Along with hundreds of others, he has to manage his evening food himself after working hard for the whole day.

Equally inconvenienced are the locals here, who have to manage food and shelter for the hundreds, forcibly brought by Maoists at gunpoint.

“When we don’t have enough food to sustain ourselves, how we supposed to feed scores of others everyday?” questioned Bhim Prasad Joshi.

After the Maoists escalated their campaign of digging trenches in the district lately, many locals have already fled their villages.

The pain of being sandwiched between security forces and Maoists is clearly visible on their faces.

“If we don’t provide food to the rebels, our lives are at stake. And if we do, security forces harass us, accusing us of giving food and shelter to ‘terrorists’” said a local trying to convey the agony of the villagers are facing.

Furthermore, married females forcibly brought here by the rebels, have their own sufferings of being far from, their children and family members. So do the unmarried ones. The latter’s distress is worsened by the thought of how society would weigh their character in future.

“Since we are staying away from home, how will society look at us was a matter of concern before also,” laments Hira Rokaya of Jukot in Bajura.


Source: Kathmandu Post - 30-1-2005

keyterms: maoist, Nepal, Humla, trenches, force, terrorists

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