The ceasefire effect: Maoists, troops trade words, not bullets
By Shahiman Rai in the Kathmandu Post (Here is the original article)
BHOJPUR (Eastern Nepal)- Even two weeks ago, they might have been shooting at each other. And now one is taken aback to see the Maoist rebels and government troops freely chatting with each other at Bhojpur district headquarters, without any fear and suspicion, thanks to the ceasefires announced by both warring sides. More importantly, both sides have time to weigh up the pros and cons of the war in which they were directly involved and also to exchange grievances against each other.
“We are fighting for the sake of the people, but who are you waging this war for?” a Maoist cadre asked a Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) soldier.
“I don’t know,” was the RNA man’s reply. “You didn’t allow us to visit our family and relatives. You also continued the abductions, beatings, torture and murder,” was his gripe to Hari Bahadur Budhathoki, a Maoist peasant leader.
“We should stop killing each other now,” said Maoist cadre Ananta, adding, “We are just brothers. But come and join us. Together we will lead this revolution.”
“What will be my designation there?” said an RNA man jokingly.
However, another Maoist cadre did not stop short of suggesting to the RNA soldiers. “You are just the means for prolonging the king’s regime.”
The Maoist presence at Bhojpur district headquarters has increased lately as they have come here to organize their mass meeting.
“Have your commanders ever come up to the front line?” asked a Maoist of another RNA soldier. “Those losing their lives are none other than the sons and daughters of poor Nepalese.”
When a Maoist asked the soldier whether they were Royal Nepalese Army or “national army”, the latter said, “We are like you.”