KATHMANDU, June 11: The selection committee of Darnal Award has decided to award Saraswati Nepali, a Dalit rights activist from Baitadi, with the Darnal Award for Social Justice 2018 for her exemplary contributions toward social justice for the Dalit community in far-western region of the country.
Nepali will be honored with a cash prize of Rs 500,000 and a letter of appreciation. The award will be provided on August 15 amid a function.
Along with Nepali, the committee has decided to recognize five other social activists – Kalawati Bhand, Arun Sada, Parbati Kumari Bishunke, Dilip Gandharva and Dr Rup Chandra Bishwakarma.
Born in a Dalit family in the backward region of the country, Nepali took a lead role for land rights, education, and access to justice for Dalits.
Under Nepali's leadership, Baitadi district was announced bonded labor free district in March 2007. Soon after that in 2008, Nepal government announced the end of bonded labor system.
During the 2007 campaign to boycott the consumption of animal carcass by the Dalits, she had played an important role to raise the issue and provide justice to the victims.
Nepali also worked as the district coordinator of the Local Peace Committee from 2009 to 2011. She was the first female district coordinator of Local Peace Committee in Nepal.
In the context of continued police refusal to even agree to register complaints about human rights violations against Dalit community, she waged a long legal campaign. In the case where a 54-year-old teacher had repeatedly raped and forced abortion on a 14-year-old mentally unstable Dalit girl in Dashrath Chand Municipality in Baitadi, the perpetrator were sentenced to 11 years in prison, a rare verdict in Nepal.
She was one of the leaders of the 'Third Organized Shaileshwari Temple Entry Efforts' in Doti district in September 2007, during which she was injured.