According to records at the Police headquarters, in a span of just three months there have been 30 clashes between Youth Force and YCL, with two Youth Force party workers and one YCL killed. In these incidents, eight have been left disabled and more than 78 have been injured.
These young party workers are known to collect hefty commissions for 'aiding' with the fixing of contracts and for recovering sums from manpower agencies who dupe people in the name of foreign employment. The 'social work' that these youth wings do is in fact not very different from what the Mandales did during the Panchayat era. A background check on the members of these groups shows that a substantial number of them have criminal records and a history of drug abuse.
Youth Force was first established to challenge the YCL. It also helped the UML to re-establish political influence in the districts. But the YF also started getting drawn to anything that involved money. And now the rest of the 16 youth wings in the country are following their footsteps.
Leaders of the youth wings have strong support from the top brass of their parent parties so it is impossible for the police to take action against them, even when there is evidence. There have been extensive protests against the YCL, but the Maoists are reluctant to dismantle it because it is also an income source.
During the 'people's war', the conflict was between two sides, the state and the Maoists. But since they joined the peace process, the conflict has become multifaceted. The fear now is that this fire could cash in on the regional and ethnic identity struggle that is brewing.
Already, unorganised armed groups in the Tarai are campaigning to displace workers from the hills. The situation could get out of hand if groups like the Madhesi Youth Force, Rakshya Dal and Madhesi Commando also join in. And we can't guarantee that a similar situation will not occur in Limbuwan, or that the ethnic struggle of the Tharus will not take on a bigger form.
If the state and the political parties do not take timely measures to control and monitor these youth wings, they will become uncontrollable. These young groups have the power to invite war. If the situation gets out of hand, the parties are sure to suffer. The bigger worry is what will then happen to our country.