Dullu’s farewell to Maoist

On 23 Kartik, 2061 BS, a patrol team of the Royal Nepal Army shot at Raju Bajracharya when he started fleeing from a teashop. He was Ward in charge of the ‘jana-sarkar’ [peoples’ government] of the Dullu ward in Dailekh. Raju, clad in combat outfit, fell to the bullet instantly.

Raju’s killing not only demoralized local Maoists but it also brought peoples’ fury to the point of organized retaliation, one after another, in the district.

That was the time when the Royal Nepal Army’s barrack had been overrun in Dang and clashes between the two sides had become more frequent and intense, and negotiation efforts had failed.

Maoists ‘people’s government’ and the Kangaroo courts used to keep a vigil on the general people of their respective areas, but their presence had injected fear among the locals over their security.

Maoists, with their noticeable concentration and growth in Dailekh, not only indulged in acts of holding people hostage, but controlled their land and valuable property. ‘It was a period of intense fear’, former chair, Dullu Municipality-03, Kalam Khanal, reminisces.

Kalam Khanal
Kalam Khanal

The army, aware of sporadic retaliatory actions by locals against Maoist, buried the body of Raju and warned villagers not to touch as they had kept a bomb at the site. Raju had apparently been appointed forcibly as Ward in charge just a few days earlier, Krishna Shah, a villager narrates. The local Maoists were told from the villagers as well Raju’s family to exhume the body for funeral, she adds.

Krishna Shah_Dullu (1)
Krishna Shah

The Maoists fled immediately after Raju was shot and were not seen around for days. But on the fourth day, locals with enough caution dug out the body for the funeral. The bomb warning was just a hoax.

The villagers seemed to be angrier with the Maoists than the army as they felt Raju’s appointment as ward in charge was much against his consent, and that they ran away after his death.

Meanwhile, the Maoists conveyed to the villagers that they would come to take the body- further infuriating the villagers in grief. They collectively decided not to let Maoists do it, and in fact to chase them away if they came. “We planned that all women with just a couple of men would go for the funeral and fight to the death if Maoist appeared,” Shah says.

On the next day, villagers carried the body all the way to Paduka riverside-situated at Dullu’s northwest. Three of the cadres including area secretary, Man Bahadur Karki appeared and hoisted the Maoist flag triggering a dispute. Apparently, clash erupted and women with domestic weapons attacked making them to run

Maoists had a sense of villagers’ fury, and made an attempt for a patch up. They assembled at the courtyard of Dullu Durbar the day following, inviting villagers for the meeting. The news that Maoist arrival at the village spread, so did the rage among villagers. ‘We murmured why did they come, would they bring dead one back to life?’, Shah narrates with a visible mix of anger and aggression.

[I will be back to the meeting after a few paragraphs describing two major incidents].


That rage was an outburst of the smoke beneath fire. There were at least a couple of more incidents that had brought villagers together against the Maoists. Extortion from the villagers ostensibly to build a road [approximately 17-km] during the month of Ashad, and stopping them from putting Jamara on the Ghatsthapana day, few days ago had made Maoists the villains in the esteem of the villagers. Raju’s death brought the piled up anger to action.

The Maoists had strategically destroyed two bridges in Chhamagaad, disconnecting Dullu with Dailekh headquarter, ostensibly to prevent army from these areas, and ‘jana-sarkar’ rule without resistance. Then, they planned to link Dullu with Karnali Highway.

“We had worked on the road from 9 am to 5 pm every day, maybe altogether 22 days, ” says Kalam Khanal- a teacher of Shree Krishna Lower Secondary School then. ‘Maoists gathered people from various villages including Paduka and Naulekatwal, and assigned them different working sites,’ he adds.

People were bitter and angry over the Maoist atrocity, and their having to opt out from regular duties. Outraged villagers attacked Maoist in charge Gopal Rijal one day, halting the construction works. The news about the incident spread all over, causing a significant stir.

Even Thir Bahadur Karki, a local and chief of District ‘Jana-sarkar’ then says it was the beginning of defiance and Dullu revolt against Maoists by the locals.


Then comes the Jamara row.

It was discovered that  Gagan Bahadur Mahat, priest of the Masto Temple situated to the west of Dullu Bazar had Jamara at his home defying the ‘jana-sarkar’.  Gagan was the elder brother of Bhim Bahadur Mahat, chief of village ‘jana-sarkar’. Angry villagers detained the Mahat brothers for a day, and cut Tuppi’ (pony tail of Gagan) in full public view. Bhim rebelled against the Maoists following the incident. Villagers joined him and together, they had many other local Maoist, including Suryanath under their control.

Next day, they produced Maoist detainees at the school ground in Narimulpali. Maoists leaders pleaded for forgiveness of the villagers there, but apparently they left the place with a quiet determination to take revenge. The same evening, they made a plot to annihilate six rebels including Bhim Bahadur Mahat, Bhoj Mahat, Kalam Bahadur Khanal, Pittu Bhandari, Dile Kami -and leave 16 others badly injured.

Kalam Bahadur Khanal received a message on it, he recalls “We needed to flee the village to save our lives.”

People were in panic fearing about the unfolding scenario in Dullu. Shoot out by the army patrol and death of Raju confirmed the worst fear.


[Let’s get back to the meeting at Dullu Durbar courtyard]

Around twelve Maoists gathered there attempted to pacify villagers. But, we chased them away with sticks, says Krishan Shah. Eight Maoist showed up again two days later. Villagers were not in a relenting mood.  “Come with any domestic weapons you have,” Shah told loudly to the villagers in the presence of Maoists.  Maoist way had really created fear and hardships in the village and some youths had started deserting it.  It was slowly turning into a shelter for old and children. Even they were fed up over having to attend the programmes organized  by the Maoists regularly.

At Kirtikhamba, arguments began. Angry women raised the first weapons.  Chandra Bahadur (Darsan) was injured, and Maoists ran away, she narrates.

On 27th of Kartik, the villagers marched around challenging Maoists. The revolt began at Dullu spread across thirteen Village Development Committees. The march continued till the 7th of Mangsir. A huge assembly of the people that day witnessed many women and children participating in it. The protest led by the ordinary village women and children was also witnessed by prominent National leaders from various parties including Purna Bahadur Khadka, Yuvaraj Gyawali, Minister Balaram Gharti Magar. Let alone leaders, even the army was scared to enter the area till then.

But with the Maoists fort demolished, the Army established a Barrack at Dullu. Police that had vanished from the area made a comeback too. Highly demoralized Maoist leadership- took actions against all leaders at Dailekh demoting some, and removing others from the position they held.  Maoist behavior towards the people had drastically changed.


Thir Bahadur Karki-the then chief of Janasarkar- lives with his wife Setu Karki at his home in the vicinity of the Karnali River, nearby Karnali Highway. His wife breaks down even now recalling regular interrogation she had to go through.  In fact, she had gone underground, and subsequently was arrested and in jail for 16 months. She was charged with treason.

Thir Bahadur Karki_Wife (3)
Thir Bahadur Kari, alongside is his wife Setu preparing Roti

Thir Bahadur contested from Dailekh-02 for both Constituent Assembly elections but lost both times. ‘We had several weaknesses at that point of time,’ he laments, ‘we committed many excesses and we had gone too far’. “People have punished me defeating twice in the election, also the party has cornered [me] promoting juniors”, he shares.

“We changed the system but not the conduct,” he laments at current reality.