Maoists seize 15 persons’ land:Defy district leaders’ direction to return the property

Biratnagar, March 21:

Cadres of the Unified CPN-Maoist seized 10 bighas of land belonging to 15 families in Babiyabirta VDC of Morang district three days ago.

Saying that they will distribute the land to squatters, the Maoist cadres seized the land in Ward No 3 and 4 of the VDC.

Villagers alleged that the Maoists seized the land as per their plan to resettle some 300 squatter families on the bank of Bhaluwa river.

Dilip Dahal, a villager, said the Maoists seized the land belonging to Nilmani Pokhrel, Baikuntha Pokhrel, Nawaraj Parajuli, Purusottam Chalise, Dhaniram Shrestha, Kamala Regmi,

Keshav Regmi, Devraj Khadka and Dilip Dahal, among others.

The incident has given enough space to doubt the Maoists’ past pledges to gradually return the land and property seized during the conflict to their rightful owners.

The Maoists captured the land under the leadership of Naresh Karki, a leader of the UCPN-Maoist’s Babiyabirta village committee, the locals said.

When asked about the seizure, Maoists’ district secretary Sushil said that the party’s district committee was unaware of the incident.

“If it has happened, it is against the party’s policy,” he said, adding, “If our cadres are found to have been involved in the

incident, action will be taken against them.”

Saying that the seizure was against the party’s policy, Kalyan Adhikari, district secretary of the Maoist-affiliated Farmers’ Association, however, said it was a moral responsibility of the Unified CPN-Maoist to settle the squatters.

After journalists informed them about the incident, Maoists’ district in-charge Shiv Kumar Mandal and secretary Sushil contacted the party’s Area No 4 in-charge Jagat Sah and directed him to ensure that the land was returned to their rightful owners at the earliest.

However, the villagers said that the local Maoist cadres were defying the direction and instigating the squatters to construct huts in the land.

After the local Maoist cadres made preparations for the settlement of squatters in the land, a meeting was held among the owners of the land, the Maoists and the squatters, but no agreement was reached.

Though the owners said they will not let the squatters settle in the land, the squatters backed by the Maoists are making preparations to erect huts in the land.