KHOTANG, Nov 3: People of the underprivileged Dalit community in Khotang district have expressed great disappointment with the political parties for using them only as a 'vote bank'. During a program organized at Hotel Shuvadin in the district headquarters Diktel on Thursday, Stakeholders of various authorities discussed caste-based discrimination, untouchability and the national and international laws regarding them.
Speaking at the interaction, leaders of Dalit community accused the newly elected representatives of their districts, candidates and political leaders of using Dalit people just to fulfill their vested interests.
According to Charcha Bahadur Bishwakarma, chairperson of Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organization, candidates visit the doorsteps of all Dalits and make numerous vows and pledges before elections but once the elections are over they never show up. “Till elections, we are as important as other people but after it's over, we become untouchables all over again,” said Bishwakarma.
None of the elected representatives and leaders could declare the village as an open defecation free area, pollution free and most importantly free from social biases and prejudices, lament Dalit leaders.
If members of the Dalit community were elected as people's representatives, even the so-called upper caste people would have to greet them by joining their hands and this, according to many Dalits, is the major reason why parties don't provide them tickets. In case if they did, people won't vote for them because of their caste, they lament.
As per the census of 2011, there are altogether 20, 611 Kami's, 5,718 Sarki's and 5,646 Damai's in Khotang. Expressing his dissatisfaction with the existing discrimination and untouchability, chairperson of District Coordination Committee (DCC), Bobi Chamling told that any kind of discrimination is a crime and those involved in such crimes deserve stern punishment.
Mayor of Rupakot Majhuwagadhi Municipality, Dip Narayan Rijal stated that it is very important for people to be aware about all the laws and rules formulated for the elimination of such discriminations. Stakeholders also publicized national and international laws regarding all of this in the program.
Caption: Leaders and representatives participating in a program organized in Diktel regarding caste-based discrimination and the practice of untouchability.