A relative came from village yesterday and he was watching TV bulletin in the evening while giving us latest about the village. There came the news about YCL, Young Communist League, the new sister organization of the Maoist party. “Yeh…yo YCL le ta manchhe kutchha hai,” the visitor promptly commented. “Dyam ka dyam thokchha. Naya Maobadi ho you YCL bhanne. Gaun ma sabailai thatauchan yiniharu le.” [This YCL beats up people. They beat indiscriminately. This YCL is the new Maoist. These folks beat all people in the village.” Then the man detailed some of the incidents of harassment and intimidation by the YCL cadres in the village. He also said that though the new avatars of the Maoists haven’t displayed guns they openly carry grenade. “They sometime go on fishing in the river with grenade.”
This is just an example of how the newly reactivate YCL of the Maoists (incorporating mostly those who would otherwise be disqualified to be in the cantonment) is spreading the terror without gun in the villages. Police raided an YCL shelter in Kathmandu recently and found nothing. Nepali Congress folks say that the Home Minister gave clean cheat to YCL illegal activities by staging a fake raid where as Maoists criticize the government for the “illegal” raid. Yes, everyone can feel the intense power struggle going on between the major three parties in the government but the way the Maoist has used it’s YCL in the process is very disturbing. No wonder why Ram Chandra Poudel, the Peace and Reconstruction Minister and NC General Secretary, demanded the dismantling of YCL recently. Widespread intimidation is going on around the country, be that in the city or in villages. YCL cadres are on the forefront in creating obstruction in IDP’s return to villages.
Here we publish two interviews of two Internally Displaced People from Ramechhap and Achham. They are both living in Tinkune, an open space, in Kathmandu along with many other IDP.
Bina Adhikari, 36
Gelu Village, Ramechhap
Why were you were displaced?
We are displaced because of the Maoists. They should know the reasons.
Have they given any reason?
They say we spied [against them]. They displace people even in small arguments. Moreover, our house was looted. My house was the first to be looted in Ramechhap district.
Who is in the house now?
Until two years ago, there was no one. But since then, some have returned and other members of the family are here. They said some can return but others can’t. Three brothers of the family are still here.
Now Maoists have joined the government after the peace accord. How are you feeling?
There is no peace for us. If there was peace, why would we have to go through this suffering? How is there peace? They are still saying we can’t go home. They are still saying they won’t return the properties that they captured in Ramechhap district. Then how there is peace? People are being killed. The peace that is only on paper hasn’t been materialized in practice. Who will take guarantee [of our safety] to return to home? Prachanda says peace has been restored. His people say we won’t let you come back to home. If you dare come home, they say, we will take action. They have been saying they will not give the properties that they confiscated. How [can you say] there is peace?
So where is the peace?
Only on paper, not in practice.
Now that the Maoists have joined the government, don’t you think they should turn their words into action?
That would be okay if they turn their words into action. We suffered a lot in the past 10 years. Our stand is that those killers must be brought to the justice. Families of those who died must get some means to live, to send their kids to school, those wounded must get treatment. We must get compensation for the property that was captured in the past 10 years. Houses must be rebuilt. We don’t need anything from the government but we want our home back in exactly the same state it was when we were forced to leave it. And we must have the same freedom that we had before.
How do you see the days ahead?
Yesterday when they were in jungle, they did that much of atrocities and injustice to us hiding [in the jungle]. Now that they are in the government, I feel they will do such activities even more and openly.
Bhoj Raj Timilsina
Achham District. Displaced more than 5-7 years ago.
We don’t have confidence over this government. It is lying that many people have returned home after the peace has been restored. And they are brining dollars from abroad and using that in other fields. We are living here [in Tinkune, Kathmandu] without food. No drinking water, no medicine. A few who went to home have been chased away by [the Maoists]. They haven’t been let inside. Many houses have been destroyed.
The peace accord talks about letting displaced people go back. How do you feel about that?
That’s only in paper, not in action. That’s a known fact. The behavior of Maoist and the government towards the displaced people isn’t good.
Why do you think they are not giving attention to the displaced?
We haven’t understood. We are surprised.
What’s your view towards Maoist now that they have joined the government?
There has been no change in Maoist’s actions and style. It’s the same like before. Even after many days after they joined the interim government, they have kept their activities the same. Issuing threats in the village and threatening people carrying guns. There has been no change at all in the behavior of Maoist. It seems no change will come in their behavior even after joining the government.
The government only talks, [Maoists] are continuing their actions. They go even in parliament with guns. Nothing will happen by just talking or writing on paper. We have no confidence at all over them. Even now they have continued with their activities like collecting donations etcetera.
Our demand to government is that our property that was looted must be returned, the killers must be brought to justice, otherwise this will bring counter revolution, another war. Action must be taken against murderers. There must be adequate management of rehabilitation. If that couldn’t be done, we must be declared internal refugees. Our number one demand is that. Our trust to the government and the Maoists has disappeared. We have suffered a lot.
No expectation from the government?
The government should fulfill its responsibility towards the country and its citizens. What can we do? What can we the victims, displaced people, do? We have nothing in our hands.
Have you put forward your demands to the government?
Yes we have. 15-point demands. For example, those who were forced by the Maoists to leave their jobs must be restored, take action against those who killed people. We hear those seven who are skilled in killing people have been made members of parliament. Actions should be taken against these people. The property that was looted must be returned. Human Rights must be secured. We must be rehabilitated in a dignified manner. Who do disabled live? Women, children must be given some opportunities of education. Children whose fathers were killed 10 years ago are now on the street. They might go to counter revolution. They should be managed now. We should get justice. The whole country and people must get justice. These are the necessary elements for the rehabilitation of victims. On this regard, government and Maoist are very much irresponsible. They are not responsible.
Now that the Maoist has come as a political party after the peace accord. Don’t you have any demands from Maoist?
Our demands are the same. Whoever builds our houses that were destroyed, government or the Maoist. That’s their responsibility after going in the government. Maoists still claim that they killed only scoundrels not the general people and will still kill. These sort of objectionable talks are still coming from the Maoists. We are still feeling very unsecured. We don’t trust Maoist and government. Maoist leaders live nearby. They could have come here and admit their mistakes and apologize. But they are not positive towards us. There is still a possibility of war. We are doing peaceful agitation now. If this crosses the limit, there might be another bloodshed in the country. The state must not take us as fourth grade citizens. The situation might go out of our control. It will be difficult if there is no management of us. No permanent peace will come.
What do you mean by out of control?
For example, we are now on peaceful movement but the police is beating us. They beat our women and children and have to be admitted. Police showed pistol to those who were demanding justice. If this situation remains, you can’t say the country might not return to war.
So you guys will also take arms?
We don’t know what kind of shape the war will take in future. But even if we don’t take up arms, those kids whose fathers have been killed will definitely do so if the problem isn’t resolved in time. If their rights aren’t secured, that will happen automatically. There is no education. How can that kid live? His father has been killed. There will come the feeling of revenge. If they can’t do anything, we must be declared the internal refugees. That’s better.
UWB: These interviews were taken a few days ago by a journalist working for a foreign TV network.