Rolpa-Despite the 'People's War' having ended two years ago and talks about integrating them into a national army, relations between the People's Liberation Army and the Nepal Army still remain frosty.
Relations got worse last year when an M-16 rifle disappeared from inside the Nepal Army's Gorakh battalion compound in Libang, just one day before minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara was due to visit Rolpa. Both the Maoists and the Nepal Army searched for the missing rifle and in the end, Maoist district workers Current and Ganga Sunar were accused of taking the weapon.
According to army sources, three people were caught who claimed to have transferred the weapon to Maoist hands. Maoist in-charge Dipendra Pun claims that all allegations are false. He says, "If we did take the weapon, then why aren't we being charged?"
The Maoists believe that there was a conspiracy to kill Mahara, who was visiting to inaugurate the 11th district council. On the same day the army lost one of its weapons, the Maoists also lost a weapon from their cantonment in Dahawan.
The two armies are also competing in humanitarian work. After the signing of the peace agreement, the Nepal Army gathered in Libang Bajar to conduct a cleaning campaign. They not only cleaned the pavements and roads but even the public toilets. They have also started to build a library.
Immediately after, the YCL also conducted their own cleaning campaign in the same place that the army had cleaned. Seeing this new dimension to the rivalry between the two sides that fought each other during the war has left the people of Rolpa amazed.
The Maoists claim that the Army only started doing these things after seeing what the Maoists were doing: building roads, gardens, sports fields, drinking water supplies and libraries. But the army's Colonel Ananda Singh Bhatta disagrees: "We've been doing humanitarian work for years."
The army has been providing drinking water supplies to villages around their barracks, built a sports field and even conducted a health camp for the sick. Colonel Bhatta says, "The Nepal Army is the national army. Whatever it does, it does for the good of the country."