Mines are a way of life in Salleri. They are planted everywhere, even on private land and landowners are not compensated. Two policemen were injured in mine explosions. Recently, the people had another mine scare. A group of travellers had gathered at the district headquarters to share their experiences of trekking around Solukhumbu when a loud explosion rent the tranquil air. Everyone was thrown into a panic, thinking the Maoists had launched another attack, a distinct possibility with rebels stationed only four days away. Later, they discovered that a jackal had stepped on a mine. These mines explode if they are weighed down by anything over one kg, an official explained.
While mines are a real danger, the security forces see them as a protection against Maoist attacks. The entire district headquarters is surrounded by barbed wire, some of it rumoured to be poisonous. In a few places, notice boards warn, Danger, live current.
After sunset everyone goes indoors and avoids talking to strangers. There are no social gatherings or parties at night. All celebrations have to end during the day, said DDC president Ang Babu Lama. The security forces want everyone in their own homes by the evening.
From inside their houses, locals can see the sweep of torchlights late at night, occasionally broken by warning shouts of, Watch out! Fire! Troops also bang tin cans or drums. All this is enough to keep everyone on edge. The biggest risk is being caught in the searchlight. If you get pinpointed,there is a high chance you will be shot. While locals are getting accustomed to the change in their lifestyle, no visitor willingly chooses to spend a single night in Salleri.