KAPILBASTU-The fires of anti-Maoist rebellion that began on 17 February has swallowed village after village in Kapilbastu. In one week, 3,000 houses in 26 villages have been razed, displacing 2,500 families and hundreds of cattle and poultry. Properties worth more than Rs 5 million has been destroyed and 22 people have died. Anti-Maoist vigilantes have beaten up villagers and burnt down their houses. On 27 February the mob was seen heading towards Rupandehi. "Since these people have come out to protest Maoist atrocities, we have not stopped them for fear the situation might grow worse," said one official.
Kapilbastu's CDO Mod Raj Dotel said those harming the innocent in the name of resistance will be brought to justice. In a Butwal daily, he stated, 'The state of actions without consequences will not remain. Criminals will be arrested.' But for CDO Dotel this will be easier said than done.
The anti-Maoist vigilantes went on warpath after Maoists abducted two villagers from Ganeshpur on 16 February. They have killed Krishnanagar's Maoist area in-charge Roshan Urf Akhtar Ali and beaten to death a man named Nandu of Lawani. Prem Bahadur Rajkoti of Hallanagar's Sukumbasi Tol died in a fire they started. Kapilbastu policemen who reached the scene of attacks say things are spiralling out of control. Nothing could be salvaged from the burning ashes. The leader of the vigilantes, Ganeshpur's ex-VDC chairman Asul Kalim Khan, said: "We will go after those who don't help us."