24 September, 2020

The Killing Terraces Of Shangri La

India extends logistical help to the Maoist-beleaguered nation but it's our intelligence that Kathmandu seeks more

The Killing Terraces Of Shangri La
A French-built Puma helicopter took me to Gam last week. Accompanying me were senior Royal Nepal Army (RNA) officers and the military attaché of a western embassy. Gam is one of the places where Nepal's violent Maoist insurgency began in February 1996—it is here that the first shots were fired in what the rebels say is a "People's War" and the government calls terrorism. Until last week, this was also the RNA's last redoubt in Rolpa district. Now the army has withdrawn.

What we saw in Gam was the terror and misery experienced daily by frontline members of the security forces and civilians in mid-western Nepal. About 75 soldiers and police and five civilians died in the battle of Gam on May 7. A few—including an RNA lieutenant and members of the anti-terrorist Armed Police Force—were hideously tortured to death in Maoist captivity. Some 150 rebels may also have died but it's impossible to be sure. We were taken to see 30 fallen rebels' bodies in camouflage fatigues, lying—bloated with decomposition—in surrounding rice fields. It made me realise why a recent...


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