Rupandehi, November 16:

Maoist cadres are forcing farmers in Rupandehi and Nawalparasi districts to give them half of the paddy harvest, several farmers said today.

Padmawati Shukla of Pharena VDC-4, Ashok Shukla of Betkuiya VDC-4 of Rupandehi and Sachindra Nath Shukla of Karauta VDC of Nawalparasi filed their complaints with the Butwal liaison office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today, accusing the Maoists of hindering the harvesting of paddy and demanding half the yield.

In her complaint, Padmawati said the Maoists have obstructed the harvesting of the paddy she had planted on her six bigha-plot of land and demanded half the paddy that was harvested three days ago. She has sought protection of her property.

Sachindra Nath Shukla said he was forced to go to Gorakhpur in India with his family of 26 members two years ago and returned home only this year. He added that he felt despondent at the Maoists’ demand for paddy from his field, which was earlier grabbed by the Maoists themselves. “They have demanded three-fourths of the paddy produced in my field,” he said.

A farmer, Rabindra Nath Sharma of Ramnagar VDC-8 of Nawalparasi, lodged a complaint at the NHRC Butwal office today, saying that Maoists took a water pump set and a tractor from his house. He added that around 35 Maoist cadres are forcibly staying in his house. Rights protection officer at the NHRC, Butwal office, Thakur Prasad Chapagain, said help would be provided to the victim farmers after investigation.

The Maoists’ Rupandehi district secretary Madhav Sharma said it was decided earlier that the farmers would give one-fourth of their paddy harvest to the Maoists and now they are reluctant. He said that the farmers were given back their lands on the condition that they would give part of their crop yield to the Maoists.