Mother (standing) and Father (right) of Kailash Poudel who had to left the job at Nepal Army because of Maoist threat to his parents. In the middle is Shekhar Poudel, a Maoist activist, who said that he tried his best to prevent the Party from locking the house. Pics by Wagle
By Dinesh Wagle in Duragaun (Ramechhap)
Wagle Street Journal
These days Som Prasad Poudel is busy in household activities like husking (with Dhiki) rice for the dinner. The limped man who worked for years in Kathmandu’s Birendra Military Hospital as a civilian staff is spending retired life that hasn’t been smooth so far. Recent months have been worst. He was expelled from the house by the Maoists and his younger son (among the two) lost his job in Nepal Army because of the rebel pressure. Now be is back into the home at Gairabari of Duragaun village but son Kailash is living a life with uncertain future in Kathmandu.
As soon as Kailash, younger son in the Poudel family, joined the army, threats started coming in from the Maoist party: take out your son from the army or you will be kicked out of the house. “That was part of our party’s policy,” said a local Maoist cadre. “We wanted the youths of the village not to work for the government army if not work for us.”
Som Prasad Poudel, busy in husking (with Dhiki) rice
But Kailsah’s brother Jyoti counters that argument. “That is absurd,” he said. “They targeted only us. Kailash wasn’t the only boy to have joined army. Even after the king’s takeover (Feb 1, 2005), a few boys from the village joined the army and Maoists never threatened to their family. It’s clearly the double standard.” It may be true because Jyoti actively supports CPN UML, one of the main competitors of the Maoists in rural area.
A few months after Kailash joined Nepal Army, Maoists put a black flag at the top of his house (on Asar 28, 2062) giving the family a month’s time to take their son out of the army. “We went to Kathmandu five times to convince him to leave the job,” Som Prasad Poudel said. “He really wanted to be in the Army as he saw good future in that. But he also didn’t want to see us being ousted from the house. He was in difficult situation. He wanted more time.” After a month of putting the flag up on the house, rebels locked the building kicking Som Prasad and his wife out. They took refuge in Jyoti’s residence. Finally Maoists opened up the lock without giving any explanation on the second week of Mangsir 2062. It was too late by then. Because of the communication gap (there is no telephone in the village to make a call to Kathmandu), Kailash had left the army on the same week. The family hopes that Nepal Army will understand their compulsion and take Kailash back into the service.
Next: Wagle Impression: How my village has changed.