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Sandhikharka
सन्धिखर्क
—  VDC  —
Skyline of Sandhikharka
Sandhikharka is located in Nepal
Sandhikharka
Location in Nepal
Coordinates: 28°0′3″N 83°14′48″E / 28.00083°N 83.24667°E / 28.00083; 83.24667
Country  Nepal
Zone Lumbini Zone
District Arghakhanchi District
Web http://www.argakhanchi.com
Population (1991)
 - Total 8,921
 - Religions Hindu
Time zone Nepal Time (UTC+5:45)

Sandhikharka (Nepali: सन्धिखर्क) is the headquarters of Arghakhanchi District in the Lumbini Zone of Nepal. It is located in a remote area of central Nepal, 300 km southwest of Nepal's capital of Kathmandu. Due to a high literacy rate, Sandhikharka once attracted people from outside Arghakhanchi District to Sandhikharka for its good schools. The town had been the subject of several attacks between the Nepali government and Maoist rebels during the civil war.

Contents

Geography

Sandhikharka is located in a remote area of central Nepal, surrounded by pine forests.[1] It is located 300 kilometres (186 mi) southwest of Nepal's capital of Kathmandu.[2] One road along a ravine connects the town to the rest of the world.[1]

History

2002 Maoist attacks

On September 8, 2002, the town was involved in a massive battle between the government forces and "thousands" of Maoists, reportedly led by Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Pampha Bhusal who come from the district.[2] Heavily armed rebels engaged the bases of civilian police, armed police and the Royal Nepalese Army and overpowered them following a few hours of gunbattle.[2] They tourched all government buildings except the hospital,[2] most never being rebuilt.[3] About 50 policemen and 70 rebels were killed in the night-long battle,[3] with almost 36 police injured.[2] However, doubts remain over how many of the dead were actually Maoists.[3] A second attack was launched on September 10, 2002, in which guerillas killed at least 65 security personnel, including soldiers, through 12 hours of fighting.[4] Forty-one personnel were reported as injured in this attack.[4] A telecommunication tower was destroyed as a result of the second attack,[5] and reinforcements were rushed in by helicopter as well as a government-sponsored effort to hold the town.[6] Unnamed leaders said lack of communication and a failed response from authorities led to the government's defeats.[2] CNN speculated that these attacks were aimed at disrupting the upcoming election by forcing the Nepali government to impose a state of emergency.[6]

Aftermath and government attack

Following the attacks, all the political parties were hounded out, and the Nepali government left Sandhikharka other than operating security forces and the post office.[3] However, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba visited the town on September 11, who expressed his surprise to see this level of damage and destruction.[2] The rebels freed 60 people abducted after the attack that day.[7] Attempting to flee, government troops blocked an exit route from Arghakhanchi district, killing 13 guerillas.[7]

2005 Maoist attack

Maoists launched a third attack on March 4, 2005.[8] This operation backfired, and the Nepali military killed 30 Maoists in what BBC called "one of the bloodiest clashes since the royal coup."[8] There were no casualties of troops.[8] After forcing rebels into retreat, the military recovered "some crude bombs, terrorist documents and equipment used to operate mines".[8] Despite his military's success, King Gyanendra of Nepal imposed a state of emergency, detained political party leaders and imposed censorship of the press.[8] Nepal's military released a statement on the fighting:

On 4 March, terrorists... fled after strong resistance by the security forces. In the action, about 30 terrorists are estimated to have been killed and some injured.[8]

Demographics

At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 8921.[9] It had 6703 married people, with 185 having more than one spouse as of that census.[9] Sandhikharka had 7706 literate people, and 2272 were attending school as of that census.[9] This high literacy rate once drew people from outside Arghakhanchi District to Sandhikharka for its good schools.[1]

Education

The Shree Janajyoti Higher Secondary School in Sandhikharka was established in 1963.[10] It is the only school providing high level science in Arghakhanchi district.[10] Currently housing about 750 students, it is undergoing renovations to create more classrooms and generally reconstruction, partially funded by the government of India.[10]

Closure of schools

In October 2004, the Maoists ordered the closure of all private schools in Sandhikharka, as well as the rest of Arghakhanchi District.[1] This came a year after they promised to keep the schools open if the cut their tuition costs by at least 20 percent, which was what occurred.[1] According to schoolchild Pratiba Acharya, "Maoists thought that only rich people study in boarding schools like mine, so they want to close them."[1] Further, they destroyed schools who were operated by their enemies and those they disagreed with, after trying to change their curricula was to no avail.[1] Many students were sent to public schools, which teach in Nepali. This posed two problems. For one thing, Nepali, though widely spoken and understood, is not invariably the mother tongue of all students in multilingual, multi-ethnic Nepal. In addition, private school students are accustomed to English as the primary medium of instruction.[1]

Government

The purpose of Village Development Committees is to organise village people structurally at a local level and creating a partnership between the community and the public sector for improved service delivery system. A VDC has a status as an autonomous institution and authority for interacting with the more centralised institutions of governance in Nepal. In doing so, the VDC gives village people an element of control and responsibility in development, and also ensures proper utilization and distribution of state funds and a greater interaction between government officials, NGOs and agencies. The village development committees within a given area will discuss education, water supply, basic health, sanitation and income and will also monitor and record progress which is displayed in census data.[11]

In VDCs there is one elected chief, usually elected with over an 80% majority. From each ward, there is also a chief that is elected along with these there are also four members elected or nominated.[11]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Haviland, Charles (2004-11-15). "Harsh lessons of Nepal's insurgency". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3992539.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-23.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Yogi, Bhagirath (2002-09-19). "The Deepening Crisis". Spotlight Weekly. http://www.nepalnews.com.np/contents/englishweekly/spotlight/2002/sep/sep13/coverstory.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-23.  
  3. ^ a b c d Nepal, Kishore (2004-05-27). "The scars are still raw in Argakhanchi". Nepali Times. http://www.nepalitimes.com.np/issue/2004/05/21/Nation/2835. Retrieved 2008-08-23.  
  4. ^ a b "Toll could soar, as dozens reported missing". The Kathmandu Post. 2002-09-09. http://www.nepalnews.com.np/contents/englishdaily/ktmpost/2002/sep/sep10/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-23.  
  5. ^ "Heavy casualties feared in clashes". NepalNews. 2002-09-09.  
  6. ^ a b "Nepal Maoists launch fresh attack". CNN. 2002-09-09. http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/asiapcf/south/09/08/nepal.attack. Retrieved 2008-08-23.  
  7. ^ a b "Gov't troops kill 13 Maoist rebels after raid". Asian Political News (FindArticles). 2002-09-16. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0WDQ/is_2002_Sept_16/ai_91757658. Retrieved 2008-08-23.  
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Nepal's army 'kills 30 Maoists'". BBC News. 2005-03-07. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/click/rss/0.91/public/-/2/hi/south_asia/4325015.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-23.  
  9. ^ a b c "Nepal Census 2001". Nepal's Village Development Committees. Digital Himalaya. http://www.digitalhimalaya.com/collections/nepalcensus/form.php?selection=1. Retrieved 2008-08-23.  
  10. ^ a b c "Indian Assistance of NRs.22.57 Millions for two School in District Arghakhanchi". Indian Embassy in Nepal. 2008-01-11. http://www.south-asia.com/embassy-india/press-release-2008/314-press-release.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-02.  
  11. ^ a b "Village Development Committee", Society for Community Support for Primary Education in Balochistan, http://www.scspeb.sdnpk.org/village_development_committee.htm, retrieved 2008-11-25  .

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