YCL cadres milking yak herders in Taplejung

Taplejung, November 15:

Cadres of the pro-Maoist Young Communist League (YCL) are extorting thousands of rupees from livestock farmers in Papung VDC of Taplejung district.

Victimised farmers complained they are being forced to cough up more than what they earn. Most of them make a living by rearing sheep and yaks.

Gyanje Sherpa of Papung-3 complained that when farmers fail to pay the amount demanded, the YCL cadres take away ghee and chhurpi produced from the milk of the sheep and yaks.

The livestock farmers, who make a living by selling ghee, churpi and skins and buy food grains with the money they earn, are so squeezed by the extortion that most of them are considering abandoning their profession for another one.

Most of them said that the YCL has fixed a certain amount of “tax” per sheep, goat and

yak. They said that the extortion has been going on for a long time and added that when the Maoists joined the government and promised to reform they were hopeful of their lot improving.

“Things have become worse,” said Urgyen Sherpa, of Papung, adding “When the Maoists joined the government, we set up new sheds, pens and paddocks to raise more livestock. Now, we are facing a nightmare.”

Aitbir Sanba, of Papung, said, “YCL cadres come with demands for money, saying they have to pay back loans.”

Maoist former committee secretary Dambu Sherpa, however, claimed that the YCL activists were not extorting and that the locals were giving donations of their own free will.