Six years into the Maoist People's War, the toll is 1700 Nepalis dead. The people are crying out for a settlement, and given the right combination of circumstances, that could yet happen. Despite the violence, the Maoists seem close enough to the surface—they could come above ground.

In the days leading up to 13 February earlier this year, a certain tension was palpable in Kathmandu Valley. That day would mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of the 'People's War' by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), and there was apprehension that the insurgents would celebrate the occasion with a big bang. After sunset, police road- blocks went up on the capital's roads and there was random checking of vehicles. Rumours flew thick, and some even expected the Maoists to carry out an assault on the Valley itself, given that they were already present in the outlying districts. The political tabloids played on the fear of the inhabitants, heretofore protected from the wrath of the 'people's warriors', who had mainly concentrated their fire to the hinterland till then.

Loading content, please wait...
Himal Southasian