Renting room a big challenge for Dalits in Gulmi

Published On: June 12, 2019 02:30 AM NPT By: SHIVA LAL SUBEDI

GULMI, June 12: The law has criminalized caste-based discrimination and the practice of untouchability. However, many Dalit students and workers in Gulmi and several parts of the country are subjected to discrimination due to their castes. Many students struggle to rent rooms in the district headquarters Tamghas.

Last year, after being unable to find a room in Tamghas, Jhavi Lal BK, inspector at the Education Development and Coordination Unit, Gulmi, had to seek a transfer. He wrote a letter to the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, demanding his transfer from Gulmi as he was unable to get a room for being Dalit. "Due to some reasons, I had to move from my previous room but no one was ready to allow me to live in their houses after learning about my caste," said BK.

According to BK, even if people have rooms lying vacant in their houses, they tend to ask the castes before letting anyone live in their house. "If Dalits are mistreated in the district headquarters, we can imagine the situation in the rural parts of the district," he wondered, adding, "The laws and policies formed to abolish caste-based discrimination are hardly implemented."

Many Dalit students who reach Tamghas to pursue higher education are familiar with such ill-treatment. This compels some of them to quit their studies, claims School Inspector Jhavi Lal. "Leaving their villages, Dalit students come to the district headquarters for their studies but after failing to rent rooms, they are compelled to quit their studies and return home," he said.

Ramesh Vishwakarma, a student in Tamghas, says Dalit students have to struggle a lot to find rooms on rent. "When we try to rent rooms, the house owners ask us about our castes and refuse to provide us rooms," Ramesh laments. According to him, some of the Dalit students are forced to change their surnames just to get a room. "After being declined by many house owners, I had to hide my original surname to find a room," said one of the Dalit students seeking anonymity.

Though caste-based discrimination and untouchability have decreased to some extent today, it is still prevalent in society. Even the so-called educated people are found promoting such social evil. Civil society leader Padam Pandey argues that discrimination must be uprooted from within the Dalit community first. "No human being deserves ill-treatment for their castes," he said.


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