Asia Tribune Correspondent Visits Area
Maoist rebel guards a road, Below: Temple in Dharchula
Rebels Running Parallel Governments on India-Nepal Border
India/DARCHULA, Nepal, August 7: The Indo-Nepali Maoist rebels
in the border areas of the hilly State of Uttaranchal and Nepal
have paralyzed the local administrations and rebels are running
parallel governments in the rural and inaccessible areas of Indo-Nepal
border with the help of their international accomplices.
senior Nepali rebel leader, who has crossed over to Uttaranchal
in the wake of crackdown on rebels after King Gyanendra toppled
the Deuba Government, told the South Asia Tribune in
Dharchula that the Maoist leaders of the region have established
a parallel system of ‘administration’.
detailed visit to the area by this correspondent revealed that
the rebels are collecting taxes from businessmen and holding (public
court hearings) in the rural areas to sort out local disputes.
They have also promulgated ‘Dress Codes’ for the students
studying in government schools. This correspondent also visited
Darchula in Nepal.
Camera and communication devices
were officially not permitted beyond Pithoragarh. Along with a
senior Maoist intellectual I met a Nepali Maoist leader, who is
badly wanted by the two countries, in Dharchula. He took us through
the sensitive border areas of Darchula, Baitadi, Dadeldhura, Bajhang,
etc in Nepal. There is no topographic difference between the regions
of India and Nepal and it is very easy to cross over.
rebel leader told the South Asia Tribune in a recorded
conversation: “People strolling in the corridors of power
propagate that locals follow us out of fear. But this is not true.
You will see with your own eyes what influence we have in the
whole region of Dharchula and Darchula.”
“The whole region is very backward with no minimum amenity
required by human beings, including medical treatment, etc. The
affluent people settled down here from the plains are exploiting
rural people. Government officials also exploit them. We want
to stop this. We have almost liberated the Nepali Darchula, and
we would do the same in this side of Dharchula also,” he
The 10th Battalion of Indian para-military force Indo-Tibetan
Border Police is stationed at Pithoragarh to assist local police
and administration, but they are not well versed with the forest.
Similarly, their counterparts on the other side often cross over
at nights to protect themselves from the onslaughts of the Maoist
The town of Dharchula, in India,
is divided by River Kali from Darchula in Nepal and both towns
are connected by a suspension bridge. It is easy to cross the
river at various points, nevertheless, people can legally cross
River Kali through the suspension bridge from 8 am to 6 pm.
The rebels are also carrying out
social activities. They are training men and women in first aid
medical treatment, as there is a tremendous lack of medical facilities
in remote hilly areas. The rebels have banned liquor and use of
One of their main supporters are
the ‘Rajbhars’, traditional tribal community that
have been pushed out of their natural habitation forest in the
name of development. They are among the poorest community of India.
They mainly reside in the villages of Pithoragarh, Champawat,
Dharchula, Munsyari and some pockets of Darchula, Accham, etc
of Western Nepal.
Dharchula is one of the regions
that have the most enchanting hills and mountains. It is on the
way to Kailash-Mansarovar in Tibet. Pilgrims trek through Dharchula
It is the safest hideout of rebels
after the Northeastern States of India and it is strategically
located with Nepal. All the 13 districts, viz. Almora, Bageshwar,
Chamoli, Champawat, Dehradun (Capital), Haridwar, Nainital, Pauri
Garhwal, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag, Tehri Garhwal, Udham Singh
Nagar and Uttarkashi are under the influence of Maoists.
whole state has the area of 55, 845 sq.km. Hill area is 92.57
per cent and plain area is 7.43 per cent. Area covered by forest
is 63 per cent. This is the reason why the Maoist rebels have
made it their base to launch operations in Nepal. Some of the
areas are virtually inaccessible for the security forces, as they
have no idea of the forests and hilly terrains.
Rajbhars are the most backward community in Uttaranchal. They
are an indigenous, ethnic minority community (scheduled tribe,
previously primitive tribe) presently inhabiting around 11 villages
in the districts of Pithoragarh, Champawat and Udham Singh Nagar
in Uttaranchal. And some pockets of western Nepal.
community is marked by the highest per centage of illiteracy (16.66
per cent among females, and 35.06 per cent among males). There
is a phenomenon about this community that Rajbhars are susceptible
to diseases and they have very low power of resistance. Almost
the entire population falls below the poverty line, with an estimated
average annual family income of just Rs 6,274.60. Most Rajbhars
could manage only one square meal a day.
is the reason why they find work as casual laborers, or work on
other people's farms and become subject to exploitation. Government
interventions in health and education have all but failed, as
the policies adopted a top-down approach, with hardly any community
economy is dependent mostly on wage labor (50.46 per cent), and
on the forests, access to which is decreasing at a sustained rate
of 27.78 per cent every year. 11.38 per cent of Rajbhars are landless.
Some of them have marginal land holdings.
area inhabited by Rajbhars is topographically one of the most
vulnerable zones in the country, with the occurrence of landslides
every monsoon (when many deaths are reported), difficult and almost
inaccessible regions where there are no roads.
The Rajbhars enjoy full support of the Maoist rebels in the region,
and some of them provide shelter and food to them. They also work
as informers. Medical facilities are also in a pathetic condition,
and Maoists are trying to train some of the locals how to provide
first aid assistance to a wounded person. Some women experts also
train womenfolk in how to take care of pregnant women till she
gets medical help. Thus they are carrying out a sort of welfare
Though the Maoist rebel leader did not show us the points at the
Indo-Nepal border from where arms are being smuggled into India,
yet they confirmed that the arms are usually Chinese and Russian
made. He, however, took us to Darchula from a point from where
anyone could easily cross over without being spotted by the Indian
The rebel said: “Usually we get arms through Nepal and sometimes
through Tibet, but our main procurer are ULFA and LTTE.”
When asked from where do the ULFA and LTTE get arms the rebel
leader said: “There are so many arms dealer all over the
world. They are sitting in China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka,
and even in India. I am not in the position to say much on this
The rebel leader took us to some of the villages in Darchula where
Maoist rebels have imposed dress code for the students of Nepali
schools. He said: “Similar dress code will also be imposed
in Dharchula in India by the next session. I know that the teachers
and other staff in Dharchula have been alerted by the government,
but we would handle it as we are getting support from the locals.”
Nepali schools have begun to follow the dress code. Now the children
are wearing black knickers and red shirts in place of government
dress blue knickers and white shirts.
rebel leader claimed: “We have paralyzed the local administration
in the whole region of Dharchula-Darchula. Our comrades are holding
public trials in the side of villages like here in Darchula to
solve the disputes. Next time we will impose other directives
like dress code in Indian schools. Let us see what the Uttaranchal
government has for us in its store!”