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Jun 20, 2007 at 12:57pm IST

Madhesis, Maoists shed blood in Nepal

New Delhi: Nepal continues to face conflicts. Even as the former rebels surrender arms and formally join the government, an on-going battle between Maoists and ethnic Indians in Nepal's Terai region remains unresolved.

The violent clashes between ethnic Indians or the Madheshis community and the Maoists have been brutal and full of bloodshed. The Bhojpuri-speaking Madheshis in Terai plains demands a separate homeland. The Terai area has become a “hub of the agitation” now.

Madheshi jan adhikaar forum or MJF is an organisation that has been fuelling tension between the two groups. In a recent clash MJF and Maoists claimed 30 lives.

Local Maoists slam the local Madheshis for the violence. They say many of these Madheshis from Bihar and UP are professional assassins.

In the Terai region, one comes across several spots where bloodstained stones, bricks can be seen. One such spot is where 11 people were stoned to death and then offered up for ritual sacrifice while being burnt almost alive. There were four women amongst them who were raped before being murdered.

Many of the MJF cadre—previously in the Maoist army—have gone underground in the area. The local police seems helpless, especially in the face of an all powerful local mafia. And the military is clearly incapable of soothing down a terrorized town.

The Maoists threaten retaliatory attacks. Barely 5 minutes away from the town centre—the Bihar border is on high alert.

Normally the little dirty track on the Indo-Nepal border is choked with traffic. But these days the Indian paramilitary forces have a little more than some cattle and a few kids to handle. They also tell that patrolling on this sensitive stretch has been increased. The idea is to not allow miscreants on the Nepalese side to enter India.

As the sun sets on Terai you realise it has joined the list of trouble spots in Nepal. Will the agitation flare up even further? Or could the Gaur massacre reduce vital popular support for an agitation—widely regarded as legitimate—just weeks ago? The answer will shape Nepal's future in the months ahead.