MAHOTTARI, Sept 14: More than half the people of Musharbasti in Bardibas-14 are deprived of citizenship. This has not just led to identity crisis but has also deprived them of being a part of the historic local elections.
They have repeatedly demanded citizenship with the candidates visiting their doorsteps every day seeking for votes for the upcoming elections scheduled for September 18. The Mushahars are determined to vote for whoever provides them with citizenship certificates.
A few months ago, Dhurmus-Suntali Foundation gifted the Musahars an integrated settlement which has made their life a lot better than in the past. Showing her newly built house, Kari Sada Musahar said, “Just because we have this house does not mean we have all the facilities. We have been deprived of various rights and authorities as we don't have citizenship.”
There are altogether 270 locals in Musaharbasti of Bardibas but only 59 of them are eligible for voting. Despite being eligibility, more than 150 locals of this community have not been provided with their citizenships.
Due to this, they can neither vote in the elections nor could file their candidacy for any post. Even after furnishing all the necessary documents and certificates to the District Administration Office (DAO) and Area Administration Office (AAO), these people have been denied their right to identity.
“Every time we reach the DAO or any other authority, instead of getting any kind of service we are obliged to tolerate the humiliation and misbehavior from the government officials,” laments Biltu Sada of the same community.
In Mahottari alone, there are thousands of Musahars but the saddest part of it all is that almost 70% of them don't have citizenships.
“We have demanded with every candidate visiting our homes to give us citizenships and take our votes,” added Biltu.
As most of the Musahars have been provided with naturalized citizenships, it has been really challenging even for their children to acquire citizenships. As of now,
This has been a major issue for the Musahars but none of the candidates have advocated for their rights yet, they lament.
“The government assured reservation and privileges for various groups but what about us?” questions Sanu Sada Musahar of the same community.
If this is to continue, the Musahars will never be able to move ahead, says Sanu. “It will never be possible for us to claim our positions in parliament or any other place without citizenship,” she added. Besides that, they are urging the candidates to ensure free education to their children. As stated by most of them, Musahars are subjected to various kinds of discrimination due to their poor financial and social status.