"We don't need Prachandapath. You can't kill people anymore." These are the anti-Maoist slogans the people of Dailekh have been shouting for the last two weeks. Young and old, men and women, they protested openly against the rebels. Once sympathisers of the Maoists, they are now protesting spontaneously. Not too long ago, they had applauded and carried Maoist flags, but things have changed. The rebels didn't show fear when the Royal Nepali Army attacked their villages but now they have to hide from the rebellious public. They are facing the consequences of having taken the people for granted. It is time for them to acknowledge that the sickles of the mass are more powerful than the AK-47s of a few armed militants.
The Maoist rebellion did not start with evil intentions. It was necessary to give birth to a party with a powerful and revolutionary ideology to restore the people's rule of law. The Maoists made a positive impact on the people in the early phases of their movement. But since then, it has been ridden with its own contradictions. At a time when consolidation is needed and not expansion, Maoists have lost more by going underground.
The Dailekh rebellion will spread across the country if the Maoists do not apologise. The mass protests are staged with very good intentions and both the state and the rebels should create an environment where the people can breathe in peace. If injustice against the people continues, mass fury will not be contained. It will lash out at both the state and the Maoists. The Royal Nepali Army indicated provision of security if the elections took place. This will only lead to an authoritarian rule, what the people need is peace.
Anti-Maoist uprising in Dailekh owes much to the women who did what the men did not have the courage to do. To rebel against the Maoists is not easy but such was the desperation of the mothers, who though illiterate, rose up to protest. When politicians feared going to villages, teachers fled, schools closed down and men migrated, the women defied the gun.