KATHMANDU, Feb 27: Former Haruwa and Charuwas (indentured labors) from across the country who worked as bonded labors in the past gathered in Kathmandu on Tuesday demanding emancipation with the government.
After meeting the Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista, they demanded that they be freed, given that the government has freed all the other bonded-laborers. Speaking at the program, the Haruwas and Charuwas expressed their disappointment for being obliged to work as slaves even in the 21st century. They urged the government to emancipate them and take initiative for their rehabilitation.
National Dalit Network and The Freedom Fund organized the program. Addressing the people present at the program, Darshan Lal Mandal, chairperson of National Haruwa-Charuwa Rights Forum stated that these bonded-labors are lagging behind socially and economically.
Ras Lal Ram, secretary of the Forum informed Republica that a large number of Haruwas and Charuwas are still living on riverbanks and footpaths as they lack land and property. As these people worked as servants and herders at the homes of the so-called high-caste people, their daughters and sons are still obliged to work as slaves to their landlords.
Minister Bista said it is sad that Haruwas and Charuwas are still living the life of bonded laborers when Kamaiyas and Kamalari's have already been freed. However, he assured to forward the process for the emancipation of these laborers as well. Bishwabhakta Dulal Ahuti presented a six-page long work plan for the emancipation of Haruwas and Charuwas. According to him, in order to uplift the living standard of these people, it is very important to free them from the burden of debt and provide them proper shelter.
"They are the victims of an ill-practice and the government which can't abolish such practices," said Ahuti. Minister Bista inaugurated the program by lighting two candles for emancipating and rehabilitating the Haruwas and Charuwas together.