The Maoists had locked up all schools for over a month and student bodies requested us to talk to them about calling off the school strike. We travelled to the west of the district where we met Chandra Shah, a teacher who had just returned from Dullu. He gave us a news peg. "Last night, villagers beat up half a dozen Maoist leaders," he told us. The security forces had also headed for the place where the locals had beaten up rebel district leaders.
What had actually happened was that the security forces had killed the 'people's committee' chief Raju Bajracharya when he tried to run away from them. The rebels had forced Bajracharya to join the committee. When the rebels came to cover Raju's body with a Maoist flag, the villagers beat them up. Raju's sister and brother-in-law saved rebel leader Gopal telling people not to act like Maoists. The people were furious and even willing to die. In the last two weeks, the number of anti-Maoist demonstrators has snowballed and spread across 14 VDCs. Starting in Dullu, it spread to Badalamjari, Gamaudi, Rawatkot, Paduka and Chiwripushkot. The women started it by coming out into the streets armed with sticks and soon the men joined them. Husbands had no choice but to support their wives. Their protest was so strong that five-dozen Maoist rebels including four chiefs and deputies of the village people's government surrendered to the public.
In Dullu, women stood guard with their sticks and began interrogating us perhaps thinking we were Maoists. We said we were journalists. "Why have you journalists come so late? This kind of protest has not been organised anywhere else in the country," one woman told us. "Our protests should be aired on your radio so everyone in the country and especially the ministers know what's happened here." On
22 November, more than 20,000 people joined the protests in Dullu. Later in the evening, the villagers had a big feast and animals were slaughtered. The women who stood guard celebrated throughout the night dancing at their sentry posts.