TIKUNIA, INDIA?Hundreds of Nepalis from various districts of the Karnali zone reach this Indian city everyday in search of safety and refuge. As the Maoists intensify their activities, they find no option but to leave their villages. Everyday we see around two to three hundred new Nepali faces here, said Dinesh Baidya, a trader. Most of them are from Karnali.
Unlike Nepalis migrating to India through Mahendranagar of Kanchanpur and Nepalganj of Banke, the records of those reaching Tikunia city in India via Sati Bajar in Kailali are not recorded. More and more people use the Sati Bajar passage because there are no security hassles. We hoped it would be peaceful again, said Dharme Lohar of Kalikot district. But both the security forces and the rebels have grown more brutal by the day, we have no choice but to leave. Jad Darji, also from Kalikot said more than 150 villagers including himself had vacated his village at once and reached Tikunia. I can imagine how many may have migrated from other villages and districts of Karnali, he said. Only male members of the family used to leave for India, now the number of women and children is equally high among migrants. Entire families are known to have migrated, some women carrying infants. Eleven-year-old Ram Lohar of Kalikot district arrived in Tikunia with his parents. My parents and I were afraid that the Maoists would take away even children my age, he said. Many Nepalis are stranded at the Tinkunia railway station. We spent all our money on transportation, so we decided to stay here for a few days, said Prem Bahadur Rawal from Jumla. But there are so many Nepalis here already and it is hard finding a job. Even children are seen working as porters with their parents to earn their livelihood at the Tikunia railway station. We are determined not to go back to be killed in crossfire, said Prem Bahadur Shahi of Kalikot.