Yet another band of insurgents in Terai
Kathmandu | June 28, 2007 1:05:06 PM IST
More than a year after Nepal's Maoist guerrillas laid down their arms, their success with the gun still continues to inspire new bands to begin armed movements in the Terai plains in the south, the new hub of violence in the Himalayan nation.
Though the communist insurgents, who waged a 10-year "People's War" from 1996 to overthrow monarchy, signed a truce last year that agreed to make them partners in the government, one of their senior leaders from the plains left the party in 2003 to start a new battle.
Septuagenarian Jaykrishna Goit, an influential leader from Terai, formed the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha to begin a new armed struggle for the rights of the plains people, saying that the Maoists had simply exploited the Terai to come to power and were indifferent to its plight.
Soon after the formation of the Morcha, a Goit lieutenant, Jwala Singh, broke away, forming a splinter group that is now leading a separate struggle for an autonomous state in the Terai.
Now, a third faction of former Maoists is in the Terai fray with yet another Goit follower Wednesday defecting to float his own faction.
The third Morcha splinter is headed by a man who calls himself Bisphot - meaning explosion.
Bisphot Singh claimed to the local media that his group had 180 armed fighters.
It remains to be seen if the new group too would join the internecine war in the Terai.
Both the Goit and Jwala Singh factions have become increasingly active since January, stepping up extortion, abduction and killings, just as the Maoists had begun 11 years ago.
Ironically, much of their violence is directed towards their former comrades. This month alone, at least six Maoists have been killed in Terai.
Both the Goit and Jwala Singh factions were declared terrorist organisations this year by the US, which still regards the Maoists as terrorists.
With Bisphot Singh throwing entering the fray, there are now nearly a dozen armed bands operating in the Terai, making it one of the most volatile places in South Asia.
Explosions, killings and closures have become almost a daily occurrence in southern Nepal, giving rise to fears that it may affect the election scheduled to be held Nov 22.
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