HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
SHAKTIKHOR: Hira Poudel of Okharpur, Pyuthan lost her right leg below knee while fighting the so-called ‘people’s war’ waged by the Maoists. Now, left to brood over her future by the party, with her contribution which she says has gone unrecognised, she is at her wit’s end.
She introduces herself as the section commander of the Dinesh-Ramji Smriti Brigade under the 1st Division Camp in Shaktikhor, Chitwan. A warrior then, Hira’s current full time occupation is staging a sit-in in front of the office set up by the Special Committee Secretariat. She and other fighters like her who were injured during the war have been staging sit-ins to press the government to conclude the integration process at the earliest and address their concerns.
Hira’s husband Milan Kumar is also a Maoist combatant. Both of them opted for voluntary retirement. A mother of an eight-year-old child, Hira is expecting another one. Hira and Milan are a worried couple — they want special provisions for injured and disabled fighters and are unwilling to leave the camp unless their concerns are addressed. “Those opting for integration will join the army, others choosing voluntary retirement will head home, but what about the fighters like us,” says Hira, wondering what she and her husband are going to do after leaving the camp.
Another Maoist fighter Deepak Tamang of Chhatre Deurali, Dhading says he has more problems to face after ‘retiring’. He received injury on his spinal cord during the war. “The government must introduce some special packages for fighters like us,” says Tamang as he propels his wheelchair.
Pariwartan, who is leading the campaign for injured and disabled fighters, says, “We have heard that the government has made classification of injured and disabled fighters. But we are yet to hear of the packages. By now the government should have sent monitors to tell us about the packages.” He demanded that the injured and the disabled combatants should be provided with all the amount in one go.
While injured and disabled fighters continue to stage sit-ins, the government monitors deployed here complain that they are facing problems in carrying out their duties. “We apprised the concerned ministry of their concerns and hope the team will be able to function,” said Madhubilas Pandit, one of the government monitors.