He is 38, and an active member of the leftist Samyukta Jana Morcha party. He was picked up by police in 1998 during the Kilo Sierra 2 counter-insurgency operation. He has been languishing in Libang Jail with 23 other inmates (one of them a woman) without trial. He does not want to be identified and spoke to Vijay Kumar earlier this month.
How come you could make it to Rolpa during such difficult times?
Vijay Kumar: The army gave me a ride. I came for my TV show.
How did you get inside the jail?
VK: The DSP in Liwang gave me permission.
How long have you known him?
VK: Just met him for the first time in my life. But I have heard of him. By the way, how long have they kept you here?
Slightly more than five years.
VK: What charges?
They (police) came to my village and one day said there is Kilo Sierra going on and arrested me. They slapped shanti surakshya (law and order act) on me.
VK: So you're not a Maoist?
No. But I did vote for Krishna Bahadur Mahara (presently a Maoist politburo member) when he was elected MP.
VK: So, tell me, what is the solution to this Maoist problem?
First, try to find out why the people revolted. There is so much exploitation by the state, it exceeded the people's tolerance limit. No one is addressing the basic needs of the people. Politicians are busy amassing vast wealth. How many of these leaders have come to Rolpa? Even you, big names in journalism, you just send juniors here. Can the prime minister dare spend a week here? Look at us: we have spent five years without trial. If we are guilty, a court should have said so. The biggest injustice is that even if we are convicted, the maximum jail sentence would be two years. But I have already been here five years. You call this democracy? (Expletive deleted)
VK: You want me to leave some money so you folks can have masu bhat?
No, thanks. But we would appreciate it if you could tell others about us. And, oh yes, can you tell the CDO to allow us to watch television? After the emergency we haven't been allowed to watch.
VK: Sure. Some day I hope to see you in Kathmandu.
We're touched that you came. Some day.