The Tarai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha (TJMM) split from the Maoists, demanding an independent tarai. On 23 September, RPP leader Krishna Charan Shrestha was murdered at his home village, Belha in Siraha. The TJMM has taken responsibility for that killing.
Angered by the incident, people from the area have not only killed the TJMM's Siraha commander Bihari Mahato and rebel Rudal Mahato, but also burnt down the house of two others allegedly involved in the incident.
Shrestha is perhaps the only non-Maoist leader to be killed by the TJMM so far. According to the TJMM, Shrestha was killed because he was involved in economic and social suppression. Although TJMM chairman Jaya Krishna Goit (pictured) has expressed interest in talking to the government, there has been no response from the state. It is understood that the TJMM ordered such a high profile killing because it wanted to draw the government's attention. However, the government is so busy talking to the Maoists, it can neither talk to the TJMM nor take any action.
Shrestha served as a minister and district vice chairman during the Panchayat era. Although he lived in a Madhesi area, he is said to have good relations with the other villagers.
Accusing the government of being unable to provide security, RPP chairman Pashupati Shamsher Rana has asked for Home Minister Krishna Prasad Situala to resign immediately. Maoist bureau chief of the Janakpur-Sagarmatha zone, Shitalkumar, and district secretary Abinash have both condemned Shrestha's killing. The government has set up an investigation team under regional administrator Shankarlal Chaudhary.
It has been five months since the government and the Maoists decided on talks, but violence and killing in Siraha-Saptari has not stopped. The TJMM, usually involved in abduction, attacks against Maoists, and looting, has recently also been involved in killings.
Earlier this month, before Shrestha's murder, the TJMM killed Maoist supporter Shree Narayan Yadab (Harish Chandra) and Sambhu Yadab, and former Maoist cadres Mahesh Chaudhary and Badri Yadab in June. The killing of Krishna Charan Shrestha was the TJMM's way of sending the message to the government that it is powerful and cannot be ignored anymore.