Armed group terrorising Rukum locals

Rukum, July 4

Locals have been terrified after cadres of Mangol National, a ragtag armed group, forcibly launched a donation drive in the remote villages of Rukum of late.

According to locals of Pwang, armed men have been harassing villagers with the demand for donation. “Besides, it’s the so-called decree of the group’s commander for mandatory ‘conscription’ that has got us more scared,” said a local, adding that the group’s commander Upendra Gharti Magar had issued a decree that at least one member of each household must get conscripted in the group by July 6.

“They are donned in military-like dresses and carry guns. They have said the youths of the village must compulsorily become members of the group,” said a youth who fled his village to the district headquarters Khalanga, adding that many youths have left the village and taken to the headquarters for safety, following the armed group’s terror.

The outfit has spread terror mostly in Jang, a village which is some two days’ trek from the district headquarters.

According to sources, the group has launched training for youths in Phurka Lek of the village. Around 100 youths are being trained at the site with guns.

A local teacher informed that the outfit sought Rs 15,000 to 30,000 from each household, depending on the locals’ economic status.

“The teachers are being targeted as they have recently received their quadri-semester salary,” said a teacher on condition of anonymity, adding that many teachers have fled the village following the group’s demand for donation.

Rukum residents also bemoaned the apathy of the police administration towards ensuring security. “Though we informed about the threats to the local police, our complaints fell on deaf ears,” lamented a local.

It is important to note that the group commander Magar from Jang-2, Kharkhola, has been involved in various violent activities for long. He was affiliated to the Mangol National Organisation, the party which was also registered with the Election Council earlier.

The self-styled central member of the party had trained Magar youths in different parts of the country around four years ago.

Acting on a tip-off, police had arrested Magar and kept him in detention for about six months. Following his release, he had gone underground for some time before appearing in public and acting to form a combat group to fight Brahmins.

DSP Rupesh Khadka of the DPO said his office was investigating the matter.