By Ram Khatry, Sydney
14 December 2016
It was year 2005, in the communist hinterland of Nepal. The war between 21st century’s most successful guerrilla army and the erstwhile Royal Nepal Army was turning its bloodiest of pages. An army helicopter was ordered to raid a home in remote Rolpa district.
It’s not certain if the pilot of the “attack-helicopter” knew who the target was in that rebel stronghold. Top brass at the army headquarters back in Kathmandu must have had solid information about the presence of senior rebel leadership because none other than Prachanda himself, the then supreme commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), was inside that Rangsi village home.
But by the time bullets rained down from the army helicopter, the supreme commander and his associates were already safely out of the house.
According to a report by journalist Binod Ghimire, the house had an underground escape route. “It was not a cemented tunnel or something like that. It was just a rudimentary tunnel dug under the house,” said Sydney-based journalist Manarishi Dhital who has been closely watching Nepal’s leftist movement for over a decade now.
The owner of the targeted home was Nepal’s current Vice President, Nanda Kishor Pun, (wartime nom de guerre Pasang).
It’s been roughly eleven years (the exact date of that attack is not known to this scribe) since the “air-raid” took place in that picturesque village of Rolpa district, the birthplace of Nepal’s decade-long armed rebellion.
The country has undergone such political reboot in the intervening years that the hunted have become bosses of the hunters.
For instance, Lt Col. Rabindra Basnet (current rank) who led the attack in 2005 is still in the Nepal Army and as fate would have it, the political bosses he serves under now are the very same Maoist leaders who once were in his aerial firing line.
He has already flown both Mr Pun and Pushpa Kamal Dahal to various destinations in the mountainous country, a report claimed today. Romantic as it may sound, he flew VP Pun to the same village even.
As recently as yesterday, Lt Col. Basnet flew PM Prachanda and his team to Deukhuri in Dang district, another region where Maoists held sway during the armed rebellion which eventually claimed over sixteen thousand lives. The place where the army helicopter landed Tuesday morning was an area PM Prachanda used to frequent as he crossed over in to India during the war, Onlinekhabar said today.
Twists and turns of history, politics and time.
This article has been edited for linguistic clarity. 14Dec16 11.26 pm aest