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Nepal Maoist Leader: Women Driving Movement

Map of Nepal, India
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Nepal's Maoist insurgency is unusual not just for its ideology but also for the many women in its ranks -- estimated at 30 to 50 percent. The most senior woman in the insurgency is known as Comrade Parvati. She mostly stays across the border in India, making occasional clandestine trips back to Nepal.

In a rare interview, conducted in New Delhi, Comrade Parvati offers her views on why women are drawn to the insurgency, how children are pulled in, too, and why she feels killing is sometimes necessary.

A female battalion commander in the hills of western Nepal says she joined the insurgency to resist discrimination against women.

But to the Nepalese army, the Maoists are little more than terrorists. And a U.N. human rights official says the army and the Maoists are both guilty of abuses.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Doualy Xaykaothao is a newscaster and reporter for NPR, based in Culver City. She returned to NPR for this role in 2018, and is responsible for writing, producing, and delivering national newscasts. She also reports on breaking news stories for NPR.