More than a week has passed since 11 Maoists were gunned down in a school at Mudbhara village in Doti. Their bodies haven't been removed and locals are subjected to the foul smell of decomposing bodies. "We could have buried the dead, but the Maoists may come back and question us," says a Mudbhara resident. Everyone avoids the school and people fear the bodies could spread disease. They do their best to keep their cattle from drinking from the pond near the school but they can't control stray dogs that are scavenging on the dead bodies, sometimes carrying body parts into the village. The health post that used to treat an average of 50 people a day has also been shut down because of its proximity to the school. Patients have nowhere to go.
"Some dead bodies are in my paddy field," says Sharada Joshi. "But I daren't go there." All the men in the village have either left or they don't come out of their houses. Senior students from the school have either reached the district headquarters at Silgadi and other towns like Dipayal and Dhangadi. The rest have dispersed to other villages.
Doors of homes are locked by sundown. Children are encouraged to get indoors when they see any strangers. Those who witnessed their friends die when security forces opened fire on a Maoist-held cultural program last week are showing symptoms of extreme psychological and emotional trauma. They neither eat nor speak properly. "When I speak to anyone, I feel I will be hit by a bullet," says seventh grader Madan Bhandari. "When I was hiding in one of the classes, I felt I was shot every time there were gunshots." Madan survived, but four of his fellow students died in that incident.