Dalit activists thrash out protection and promotion of Dalit rights with Human Rights Cell of Nepal Police


Cops promise 10 minute time action


On 31st January 06, a delegation of Dalit activists discussed with the officials of Human Rights Cell of Nepal Police on the various aspects of the discrimination against Dalit and how that can be overcome through mutual cooperation. The outcome of the meeting was very positive as both side agreed to exchange ideas and experiences and report to the cell any incident of the violation of Dalit Human Rights and the concerned officials promised to take a necessary action within 10 minute time. The delegation of five lead by General Secretary of Dalit NGO Federation Mr. Gajadhar Sunar had a cordial meeting at Nepal Police headquarters in Naxal Kathmandu. Other members of the team were Mr. Hira Vishwakarma (Team Leader of  DEIP), Mr. Birendra BK (Programme Officer DEIP), Mr. Chakraman Vishwakarma (General Secretary of DWO) and Mrs. Gomati Sunar (Advocate, DNF). From the Nepal Police side, the Chief of Human Rights Cell Mr. Pushkar Karki (Dy. Superintendent of Police), Mr. Sabin Pradhan (Inspector) and Chief of Central Women and Children Service Centre under Crime Investigation department Ms. Parvati Thapa (Superintendent of Police) participated in the discussion.


Mr. Birendra BK upon introducing each other highlighted the purpose of the meeting and stated that the role of police force is very crucial to maintain law and order in the country and its role would be equally important to promote the rights of Dalit as they are the one who undergo various kinds of discrimination in their day to day life. Mr. Hira Vishwakarma stated that crime of untouchability was not considered a crime against state until 20th July 2003. Until that time an individual or a group who had undergone through discrimination would have to go to the court and file the case against the culprit. Like wise the group or individual had to wait for the turn for the proceeding of the court which would take very long time. The individual or group especially NGOs active in the field of Dalit rights were instrumental to take the cases of such discrimination into the court. There were several successful cases which received favorable verdict. Though it was a good decision of the government in the part of Dalit, since then none of the cases have been filed in the court. That would have happened in two situations first of all police post had to register the case and public prosecutors would take to the court. Since Dalits are the most deprived and marginalized community in Nepal, they would hesitate to take the case to the police first, even if they take, the official responsible would discourage to register. Even if that is registered the public prosecutors who are mostly non-Dalits would hardly like to consider as a public offence. As a result of such behaviours none cases have been filed in the court since then. He also reiterated that since women cell within police force is doing a very good job especially in the human trafficking cases by working closely with different NGOs and brining culprit into justice. If some similar collaboration could be established between the police force through Human Rights Cell and Dalit Organizations, the crime against Dalits would be reduced substantially. Likewise, if a focal person in each police post with a Dalit sensitivity could be created that would be a milestone. He also offered any support in this regard to the cell.


Mr. Gajadhar Sunar, General Secretary of DNF stated that his institution has a membership of 200 Dalit NGOs spread in the 50 districts of Nepal can be mobilized and the Legal Aid Department can also be instrumental to provide any support and collaboration. Ms. Gomati Sunar (DNF Advocate) reiterated that she has herself experienced that police personnel often hesitate to register the cases of discrimination against Dalits.


DSP Pushkar Karki, the chief of the cell expressed his happiness to have such interaction with a group from Dalit organizations and reaffirmed his and his institution's commitment that they are willing to do any thing possible to reduce the caste based discrimination. He suggested to inform the cell of any incidents of violation of Dalit human rights and within ten minutes time action will be taken. First of all the victim has to go to the local police post  and register the case, if there would be any problem then his cell can be contacted. He also informed that the entire police force has taken the issue of Dalit seriously and in the training programme on Human Rights the issue of Dalits are discussed. He stated that there are not much problem within the force about the Dalit sensitivity and their issue. Hira stated that, if it is so then a research to be carried out to ascertain the status and based on the recommendations further programme could be carried out. However, DSP Karki stated that it is not possible for his cell to carry out a research but he is ready to provide any support if civil society organizations would like to do so.


Superintendent of Police and Chief of Women and Children Service Centre Ms. Parvati Thapa appreciated the idea of having a focal person on Dalit issue and informed that a focal person to look after the cases of women and children in many districts have been very helpful. She emphasized the need of reorienting the police personnel about the Dalit issue and Dalit organizations can be invited to put forth  their issues and seek support.


Chakraman Vishwakarma, General Secretary of DWO stated that justice to Dalits very much dependent on the individual attitude towards Dalits by giving the example of Saptari incident, when the Chief District Officer was positive a culprit who was an ex-MP was put into custody, where as in the recent incident of temple entrance in which a Non-Dalit who helped Dalit enter the temple and offer "puja" has been fined Rs. 15,000 and the administration has not played a positive role in favour of Dalits.


The meeting agreed to exchange more information about the issue and seek collaboration and support with each other in the future. The team also visited the Women and Children Service Centre within Central Department of Crime Investigation and apprised itself the activities of the same. Support to Dalit women who under go various discriminations was discussed during the meeting.


Report by Hira Vishwakarma