Dalit ward members excluded from decision-making

Published On: November 27, 2018 08:00 AM NPT By: PUSHPARAJ JOSHI

KAILALI, Nov 27: Last year’s local elections held after a hiatus of 20 years introduced hundreds of Dalit women to politics. Though they were assured of posts in various government offices, they are still far from the decision-making process. The constitution had made it mandatory to include Dalit women in each ward, but those members lament that they have been left out of development activities. They claim that all the decisions are taken without their knowledge as they are not invited during discussions.

According to the Dalit members of the local units, they have not been able to exercise their rights yet. 

Bimala Serala, a ward member of Godavari Municipality-11, stated that the ward chiefs and mayor of the municipality do not consult with them even before initiating projects related to Dalits and minorities. 

“Despite being a member of the working committee, I am unaware about the decisions and projects of the ward,” Serala laments.

She says the municipality has made various decisions without even informing her. 

“I have no answer to give to the public when they ask me about the projects undertaken by the municipality or ward,” said Serela. 

Sangita Biswakarma, a member of ward-2, says Dalit members still have to face discrimination due to their caste. 

“We have just been given the post but not our rights,” Bishwakarma said.

It is not that the Dalit members have not tried to seek the attention of those in executive posts to bring programs to uplift the living standard of the Dalit community, but they have not succeeded. Most of them express their disappointment toward the government for limiting the slogans of untouchability to papers.

Bishnudevi Pariyar, a ward member of Godavari-5, laments that she has been discriminated against by the elected representatives for being a Dalit. Although she had made lots of plans before the elections, she has not been able to fulfill her promises due to the unfavorable environment. 

“We need support from the higher authorities to be able to work for the welfare of Dalit community and women,” said Pariyar.

Despite being the members of the ward, they are not even invited to most of the programs. They are not informed about the programs or projects but are only asked to sign in the register.

Meanwhile, Hari Singh Saud, mayor of Godavari, claimed that Dalit members of the local units have not been subjected to any kind of discrimination. 

“I have strictly told all ward representatives to include Dalit members in all activities,” said Mayor Saud.

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