Trekking among the rebels

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I want to respond to the news item “Fighting Rebels in Nepal” (Feb. ’04, pg. 18).

I was in Nepal in October ’03 and researched the Maoist situation quite thoroughly through news reports and by speaking to other trekkers. Although the U.S. State Department did issue that travel advisory, the fact is there have not been any reports at all that a single foreign visitor has been physically attacked or injured.

There has been some extortion on popular trekking routes, with trekkers being asked to pay 1,000 rupees (about $14) and, what may be even worse, having to listen to Maoist harangues about why they are rebelling. The $14 is equivalent to what people pay the government for their trekking permits, and the rebels justify asking for this amount by saying, “The government doesn’t control this area. We do.”

Once the money is paid, the Maoists give the trekkers receipts, which they can then show to any other Maoists in the area to prove that they have already paid for the privilege of trekking in that region.

SALLY WENDKOS OLDS
Port Washington, NY

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I want to respond to the news item “Fighting Rebels in Nepal” (Feb. ’04, pg. 18).

I was in Nepal in October ’03 and researched the Maoist situation quite thoroughly through news reports and by speaking to other trekkers. Although the U.S. State Department did issue that travel advisory, the fact is there have not been any reports at all that a single foreign visitor has been physically attacked or injured.

There has been some extortion on popular trekking routes, with trekkers being asked to pay 1,000 rupees (about $14) and, what may be even worse, having to listen to Maoist harangues about why they are rebelling. The $14 is equivalent to what people pay the government for their trekking permits, and the rebels justify asking for this amount by saying, “The government doesn’t control this area. We do.”

Once the money is paid, the Maoists give the trekkers receipts, which they can then show to any other Maoists in the area to prove that they have already paid for the privilege of trekking in that region.

SALLY WENDKOS OLDS
Port Washington, NY