Until six months ago, Comrade Ajay was a loyal Maoist militant. But he renounced the party when he discovered that his comrades were involved in corruption, irregularities and caste politics. Ajay, alias Shambu Prasad Yadab, joined the armed Madhesi Tigers as one of its most active members. A new Maoist battalion was brought in from Sindhuli to hunt down Ajay and his group.
Today, Ajay is helping Rautahat villagers fight back against the Maoists and rebel activity there has decreased. Many of the Maoists who once fearlessly tread Dudhihawa, north of Rautahat, are now rarely seen. "We fear Ajay more than the army or the police. He knows us too well," says a member of the Maoist district committee. Even non-militant Maoists carry 3.5mm pistols and two grenades. The Maoists are more vulnerable now that Ajay and the Royal Nepali Army are working together. Ajay has been feeding security forces with information on the rebel leaders. He helped them locate Tharuwan Liberation Front's president Suresh Chaudhary. Former rebels, UML and Nepali Congress workers, displaced villagers and the security forces have been lending him support.
Sixty displaced rich and powerful Yadab leaders have been his main supporters from their shelters at the district headquarters. Some rebels, still within the party, support Ajay's campaign. They believe he was right to raise concern over the issue of corruption and ethnic politics among the Maoists. Ajay himself was not a model citizen before he joined the rebels. He was a notorious robber and now the Maoists regret having recruited him. They admit to having enlisted many robbers and using them to carry out killings. After these infamous citizens surrendered to the state, the police pumped them for information.
One security officer claims that the state has offered Rs 50,000 to all rebels leaving the party besides the six leaders. "Opportunists have quit," says military commissar Rupesh adding that the rebels in the tarai aren't as loyal as those from the hilly region. The Maoists have begun a 'clean out' campaign to eliminate disloyal members. Three weeks ago, they killed Rajinan Sahani, a criminal who had joined the party and then quit. Two former militants Niras Yadab and Aabed Miya were accused of working against Maoist principles and killed.