(Archived from 2015).Villages and towns around the Halkhoriya Jungle are in the crossroad of the latest political unrest with strikes and violence are effecting as well.
Halkhoria Jungle lies along the East-West (Mahendra) Highway, connecting Kathmandu in the North with Kakarbhitta in the East and the economically crucial Birganj border in the South. This Terai-planes highway is also the one along which many of those districts lie, where the Madeshi-Tharu led strikes and violent protests provoked curfews and shootings from security forces, the most tense being neighboring Rautahat (just next to Nijgadh along the highway), Sarlahi (with one of Ram Bomjon’s temporary ashrams in Lalbandi) , Saptari, Morang, the line ending with Jhapa District at the eastern Indian border. These eastern districts up from Morang to Jhapa are also claimed by the Limbuwan Party as part of their imaginary Limbu-state, while the southern Terai parts of the same land are to become Tharu-Madeshi autonomous country,according to the Tharu-Madeshi protest, which is attempting to create 3 Tharu-Madeshi states in Nepal.
(Concerning the Limbu caste which had warned the Government to declare an autonomous Limbu-state in the east of Nepal unilaterally, one of Ram Bomjon’s most hard-core complices in violent attacks, kidnappings, tortures and rape is also a belonging to this caste: Darshan Subba Limbu, and before escaping from prosecution to the UK, he resided with his family in Kakarbhitta of Jhapa District, where the Limbu-movement is the strongest). Some of his family members had been also activists of the Limbu Movement).
The below map shows Halkhoria’s area effected by the latest political unrests from June 2015 until these days, the Halkhoria Jungle marked with a blue “H”, while the villages and towns in relevance to Halkhoria/Ram Bomjon are highlighted yellow. The road section along which clashes and strikes had been occuring in recent weeks and months, and where currently the Government had enforced a curfew by sending Nepal Army troops there, is highlighted in red:
HALKHORIYA’S NIJGADH SIDE:
As a consequence of sharing the same highway with the conflict-hit districts, the usually peaceful and laid-back Nijgadh town had been also experiencing curfew imposed by the Government, to curb further protests :
“The 42km Gaur-Chandranigahapur road section and its vicinity within one kilometre radius has been wearing a deserted look ever since the administration declared the area riot-hit on Monday night. Madhesi leaders have been demonstrating in the villages.” Chandranigahapur is just after Nijgadh along the highway to the east, while Gaur is the district capital of Rautahat Distrct, in which district’s jungles Ram Bahadur Bomjon used to wander and stay in his early years of “buddha-career”.
PATTHLAIYA, SIMRA, BIRGANJ SIDE:
In the other direction of the highway (which is in practice just a slightly wider two-way asphalt road), connecting to the Patthlaiya Junction with the Hetauda-Kathmandu road to the north and the Simara-Birganj road to the south, the situation is more fiery, due to the strategic position of Simara and Patthlaiya along the important road of the inflow of many goods to Nepal through the Birganj border crossing, and due to the wide industrial compound of factories from Patthlaiya up till Birganj:
“Amid an indefinite shutdown imposed by protesting Madhesi parties, local administration of Bara and Parsa on Wednesday issued prohibitory order on the highways and major road-sections in order to ensure the smooth supply of daily consumables to the Capital. The Parsa District Administration Office on Wednesday declared two major road-sections as prohibited zone for every night until the next notice.”
“Likewise, the Bara District Administration Office also declared Kalaiya-Birgunj, Birgunj-Pathalaiya and Pathalaiya-Nijgadh road-sections prohibited zone. Also, five or more persons cannot gather in the prohibited zone.” what is a definition of a curfew in Nepal.
“The routes declared restricted zones are Indo-Nepal border-Shankaracharya Gate-Customs Office-Rajat Jayanti Chok-Buspark-Pratima Chok-Gandak Chok-Parwanipur-Jitpur-Lalaka Bridge of Bara-Parsa border as well as Dry Port Customs Office-Chandal Chok-Parwanipur Chok-Jagannathpur Chok-Parwanipur Bazaar-Jitpur-Lalaka Bridge.
Chief District Officer Balkrishna Panthi said the Tribhuvan Highway from Parsa border to Makawanpur border as well as Nijgadh-Pathalaiya road-section of the East-West Highway were declared the restricted zone.
Cadres of Madhes-based parties have been obstructing the highways and holding demonstrations against some provisions of the proposed constitution draft in various Tarai districts for last two weeks.”
Earlier on July 20, 2015, the Madeshi-Pahari conflict had been already effecting the villages and towns around Halkhoria greatly: “Other Madhes-based parties also tried to prevent the CA members from collecting public feedback, clashing with police personnel in several Tarai districts like Saptari, Bara, Parsa and Dhanusha. Parts of the East West highway remained blocked due to protests by Madhesi cadre.”
Tensions in Halkhoria’s Bara and Parsa Districts had started already in February 2015, when Simara had been fighting for the right to have the District Administration Offices then based in Kalaiya, shifted to there. In those times I had already named the real problem of that conflict as in reality a difference between the Madeshi Kalaiya and mostly Pahari Simara. These violent protests, in both Kalaia and Simara, halted only due to the April and May 2015 earthquakes.
THE EAST-WEST HIGHWAY’S RAM BOMJON CONNECTION
In the earlier years (2012-2014) there had been tensions due to the presence of Ram Bomjon in the Halkhoriya Jungle, who had started his mission of ritualistic public tortures and beatings in big in 2012, and made his cult members to forge a birth certificate for him to acquire a passport, after what he was made to leave his Halkhoriya Jungle ashram for a few months. When the authorities refused to issue him a passport based on forged papers, his Sangha (a crowd of followers) had staged a 3-day violent protest on the East-West Highway, in the area of the Pasaha Bridge (Piluwa village), South of Halkhoria Jungle, which led to 24 people injured. After his merely symbolical eviction by the authorities, to satisfy the sentiments of irate locals, he had ventured back a few times secretly, as well as publicly in summer of 2014. In September 2014 he again kidnapped and had beaten to blood a group of local men. Through all these trouble-making, he had been invited to the Prime Minister and received his insurances and support for the undisturbed continuation of his “dharma” on the national as well as international level, and was finally granted a passport.
See more about Bomjon’s connections to the current protests here: