Kamala Parajuli, a student of Sharada Higher Secondary School in Doti recounts her experience of the shootout between security forces and the Maoists on October 13.
Classes had just begun when suddenly, a group of people came inside and ordered, "Stop the class. We're organising a cultural program." We thought school had ended and started going home, but they blocked our path and forced us to attend their show. Two of my brothers and some of my friends managed to escape but I was among those who were trapped.
As soon as the function began, we heard gunshots. I had heard of encounters on the radio but never realised that I would experience something like this myself. We were all quaking with fear and the atmosphere was frightening. The army officers asked us to raise our hands. We obeyed and heard loud gunshots behind us. We were so scared that we started running without thinking. The bullets hit my friends and they started to fall down one by one. Suddenly I heard someone say, "Be careful, they are students." It must have been an army officer, who else would have dared to say that? Seconds later I was hit on my right arm. I fell down and don't remember anything.
I woke up at the hospital, with my clothes soaked in blood. I was told that an army helicopter had brought us to Nepalganj for treatment. Doctors had already removed the bullets from my arm and I felt I was lucky to survive. Many of my friends were shot and I don't even know how many lived. I'll find out how many didn't make it when I go back to school . I just hope the Maoists and the army will treat schools as zones of peace. Please, make them listen.