March 06, 2007
Nepal: Can Peace Hold?
BY Anuj Chopra
Former soldier, Teevrata Singh, 22, left her impoverished village three years ago to fight the Maosist cause.
We've spent five hours on the road from Kathmandu. The car is belching out thick smoke as it wobbles along the deeply rutted roads. The mercury has dropped dramatically, and fog is adding to the precariousness of the journey.
We're on our way to a remote hamlet in western Nepal in the district of Nawalparasi to spend time at a camp run by the country's Maoist rebels. Emerging from the shadows of their long, clandestine existence, Nepal's rebels are now in the process of laying down arms under U.N. supervision, officially calling an end to their decade-long revolution.
As we near our destination, the countryside is increasingly beautiful. Old wooden houses rise above vast tracts of maize in mid-bloom; little children wave at us as we pass by. In the distance, a red flag flies from the top of a watchtower, and a gun barrel darts out from a foxhole as we approach the camp.