Kids ‘forced’ to take part in rally

Nepalgunj, November 10:

Scores of schoolchildren accused the Maoists of forcing them to take part in a victory rally staged here today.

The rally, which was taken out from the premises of Bheri zonal hospital, concluded at the Pushpa Lal Chowk.

Clad in school uniforms, the schoolchildren said they took part in the rally out of fear of the Maoists.

“The Maoists threatened school management. In turn, we got threats from the teachers,” a participating student said, seeking anonymity. Students taking part in the rally were from several schools, including Saint Thomas, which belongs to Banke PABSON president Arjun Shrestha. Many of the participating schoolchildren held aloft Maoist party flags in their hands.

President of the Mahendra Multiple Campus Nepalgunj chapter of the Nepal Students’ Union, Pushpa Raj Sharma, said: “It is does not augur well to force small schoolchildren to take part in such a procession.”

The Maoist leaders, however, claimed that the schoolchildren had taken part in the rally voluntarily. Eyewitnesses said schoolchildren comprised three-fourths of the rallyists. Meanwhile, Bheri-Karnali in-charge Prakanda urged people to be aware of conspiracies.