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DalitWatch 2005:

This section serving as an information watchdog endeavors to collect, as available, reports of incidents or press coverage favourably or unfavourably relating to the issues and rights of Dalit communities of Nepal, who are most vulnerable for gross neglect or possible excesses of traditional caste discrimination especially during the times of crisis. On February 1, 2005, a state of emergency has been declared and many of the citizen rights have been suspended in the country. The decision to lift the state of emergency was announced on April 29, 2005. Democratic citizen rights are preconditions for achieving full Dalit rights.




* FEDO Demands a maximum term for the murderer of Januka Nepali


Reading a Press Release of Feministic Dalit Organization (FEDO) on Januka Nepali’s murder case at Reporters Club in Kathmandu, General Secretary of Femisitic Dalit Organization (FEDO) FEDO, Ambika Gazmer demanded maximum sentence for the murderer Banu Bishwakarma , who under the high influence of patriarchal supremacy of feudal system committed heinous crime of brutally murdering Januka Nepali. She said, honoring the contribution of Januka Nepali as a devoted social rights defender and a Dalit activist, FEDO has institutionalized Januka Nepali Memorial Trust, and also renamed the FEDO Scholarship Trust as Januka Nepali Scholarship Trust. For more, Read the FEDO’s Presse Release in Nepali


From participants, Member of National Dalit Commission Mohan Mijar has appealed to the government for making a new law on citizenship rights based on the name of mother. He demanded for the punishment of the murderer Banu Bishwakarma as much as the legal provision allows. On the press interactions folliwing the press release, Gajadhar Sunar of DNF said that this inhuman murder directly or indirectly creates threat to social and women activists, and Sabin Shreshta, FWLD has commented on legal loopholes in punishing the murderer. According to him, the victim’s family could not get any compensation though the government has seized the culprit property. He pointed out the need for amendment of legal system. Rajkumar Trikhatri, Dalit Team leader, Action Aid answered to the Journalists’ some of the questions about this incident. Finally, FEDO President Durga Sob called for solidarity from the government, Human rights defenders, women rights defenders and journalists to create pressure for sentencing maximum terms of punishment to the murderer Banu Bishwokarma, and to support to the victim’s family for her children's education and survival. Report by Sunil Basnet/FEDO [December 12, 2005].


Dignity Rally organized in Kathmandu.


A large Peoples’ Dignity Rally was organized in Kathmandu on December 10 on the occasion of The International Day of Dalits' Struggle in concurrence with the International Human Rights Day. Addressing the rally, which drew thousands of Dalit and non Dalit people from around the country, Regional Convener of Word Dignity Forum Motilal Nepali, who is also the President of Dalit Welfare Organization (DWO), demanded re-structuring of the state for democracy, justice, dignity, peace and human Rights.


Peoples' Dignity rally began at 1.00 PM from Tripureswor, Teku and reached Basantpur where the march pass turned into a mass meeting. In March Pass rally, the masses of people were holding hundreds of flags, banners, play cards, drums bands and were chanting agitation slogans. Leaders of different political parties, political parties’ sister organizations, civil society organizations, peoples' movements participated and addressed the rally. The prominent figures of social protagonists and activists also addressed the rally.


Many buses with the thousands of people who were headed from various parts of the country for attending the Dignity Rally were blocked by the security forces at Thankot Checkpoint. Despite this blockade, the conservative estimate of number of people who did participate the rally was 15,000.

World Dignity Forum, Nepal National NGO Federation, Dalit NGO Federation, GFANT, DWO and other organizations were involved in hosting the Dignity Rally. [December 11, 2005, Kathmandu]


* Three ministerial berths for Dalits- a record in Nepal, but perplexing


Once again Dalits of Nepal are surprised, but also are perplexed by the King's action today. He has given three ministerial seats to Dalits in his Cabinet, which is a record in the history of Nepal. Hari Shankar Pariyar, Pratap Ram Lohar and Golchhe Sarki are assistant ministers in the newly reshuffled cabinet of the autocratic regime. All the ministers are well known leaders of Dalits who have contributed significantly to the awareness of Dalits for their rights for long period of time. However, the circumstances under which they are made ministers are any thing but democratic. The system of hand picking our Dalit leaders for attractive positions, and the Dalit leaders, in turn, being swayed away by the transient gain of the high position is harmful to the peoples' aspirations for their self determination as well as Dalit movement in the long run.


While the whole world and political parties representing 95% population of Nepal are demanding the King to relinquish the power that he is holding undemocratically since February 1 this year, he seems to be determined not to give any heed to their demand (Dec 07, 05).

Related News:
King reshuffles cabinet (nepalnews.com)
King reshuffles cabinet (kantipuronline)


* Revamp of govt policies stressed to address Dalit woes


Senior political leaders today stressed the need to restructure the state to address the issues of the Dalit communities. “Without restructuring the state, no problem will be solved, whether it be of Dalits, Madhesis or any other oppressed community,” said Hridayesh Tripathi, general secretary of the Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandi Devi). He was speaking at an interaction on “Position of Dalits in the inclusive democracy” organised by the Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) in the capital today. He added constituent assembly would be the only way out to all problems.


Navaraj Subedi, general secretary of the Janamorcha Nepal, said the parliament too had ignored the proposal to bring a special Act against caste-based discriminations. “Political parties too have dual attitude on issues of caste discriminations,” he claimed. He added that it’s high time discussions were intensified to ensure proportionate representation in the state structure.


Spokesperson for Nepali Congress (Democratic) Dr Minendra Rijal said the notion that democracy needs no adjectives has been proving wrong and the phrases like inclusive democracy have come in wide use. He claimed that a proportionate system of election could integrate various faces of the country as the traditional democracy could no longer address the issues invited by the diverse composition of our society. He, however, opposed the idea of federal system of governance, which some of the leaders of indigenous people have been talking about. “How can anyone prove that a federal system can address the issues of Dalits, Janajatis and women among others?” He questioned.


Standing committee member of the CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal said a republican set-up or a federal government alone may not be the right solution to the problem. “Parties have already apologised for their past mistakes and now it’s the time to brainstorm on how the state can be re-structured,” he said. He said the adoption of proportionate election or direct election all depends on need. The movement for total democracy should also include the issues of the Dalits. “Besides, there is a need of a nationwide awareness campaign against all discriminations,” Khanal said. At the same programme, Nepali Congress general secretary Ram Chandra Poudel claimed the Maoists insurgency began just to make democracy unsuccessful in the country.
Himalayan News Service (Lalitpur,
Dec 06, 05)


* Dalit movement for democracy


Nepal Dalit Liberation Organization has organized its first National Dalit Convention in Chitwan district recently, and has decided to fully participate in a strong movement for democracy in Nepal. The convention has declared the Hindu Varna based divison of labor, untouchability and discrimination as the "Hindu Feudalism". More on this story, >>>[Kantipur Daily, in Nepali] [Dec 07,2005].


* The Apex Court issues show cause notice to Government


The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday issued a show cause notice to the government for not enacting laws and regulations in connection to make the provisions for reservation, a positive discrimination to women, Dalits and indigenous communities.

A single bench of justice Anup Raj Sharma ordered the vice-chairmen of the Council of Ministers, Education Minister and Law Minister to furnish written reply within 15 days as to why they should not be punished for not respecting the 13 month old order relating to rights of indigenous people and other marginalized people.


The Court has issued the order in response to a ‘contempt of court case’ filed by advocates Deepak Kumar Rai and Shree Prasad Budhathoki on behalf of Human Rights of Indigenous People Concern Center three months ago.


The petitioner claimed that the government had not followed the order of SC, where the Court had directed the government to make the provision for reservation by making laws last year.


The government had allocated 20, 15, and 10 percent reservation to women, Dalits and indigenous community respectively. The Court had issued directives to the government to manage reservation by enacting laws in response to the writ petitions filed against the government’s decision of positive discrimination last year. nepalnews.com pb Dec 06 05.


* National Dalit Convention commits for launching a movement for full-fledged democracy

Nepal Dalit Liberation Organization has organized its first National Dalit Convention in Chitwan district recently, and has decided to fully participate in a strong movement for democracy in Nepal. More on this story, >>>[Kantipur Daily, in Nepali] [November 27,2005].


* Dalits of Parbat declare an untouchability free zone


Hundreds of Dalits of Barah Chaur, Ranibas, Beulibas and Hubbas villages of Parbat districts have declared having abolished the practice of internal untouchability existing traditionally among their communities. During the festive time of Dashain and Tihar, the villagers have demarcated their villages as an untouchability-free zone so as to break the traditional practice of untouchability branding it as the remnant of feudalism. This news is featured in an article that appeared in the Kantipur Daily on November 19. [Full text of the article in Nepali by Lal Prasad Sharma]


* Writ against NGO Codes of Conduct


A writ petition demanding the annulment of the Non-Governmental Organizations’ Code of Conduct was filed at the Nepal’s Supreme Court on Thursday the 17th November 2005.


Ten petitioners including Dalit leader Padam Lal Bishwakarma and advocate Gopal SiwakotiChintan’ registered the writ seeking the apex court order to nullify the code of conduct, claiming that it is against the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the independence of civil society organizations.


The NGO Code of Conduct recently introduced by the current autocratic regime has been opposed by Nepal's civil societies, many foriegn governments as well as international bodies including the UN saying it "clearly provides a means for undue political interference and is likely to hinder critical development activities."


* India's Ex-President Narayanan dies

India’s former President KR Narayanan has died at the aged of 85, the BBC quoted the De fence Ministry as saying. Mr Narayanan was the first member of the Dalit caste to become the Head of the State of the world’s largest parliamentary democracy, and held this position from 1997 to 2002.
BBC further reports:
“Analysts say Mr Narayanan's rise to the presidential office from the Dalit caste was seen by many as an affirmation of India's democratic roots.”
“The caste system was banned in 1950 but centuries of tradition made it difficult to break entrenched attitudes.”  >>> More details on this story

CHRGJ urges investigation by the U.N. Committee Against Torture

(New York, November 8, 2005): Dalits are at high risk of torture in Nepal, warned the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. In a statement delivered today to the U.N. Committee Against Torture, the Center urged Committee members to investigate the extent of torture against Nepal's so-called untouchables. >>> More on this story

* “Inside Nepal’s Revolution”, what the National Geographic Magazine has to say about?

“The rebels recruited a spectrum of disenfranchised Nepalis- women, ethnic minorities, Dalits (untouchables), the unemployed, and underemployed youths- offering them hope where there had been none”, says National Geographic Magazine in an artile by Ed Douglas with photographs by Jonas Bendiksen (November, 2005, pages 46-65).

Also featured with the article are the alarming statistical figures of Nepal: Population, 27 million; Percent of Nepalis who live below the national poverty line, 31; Rank of Nepal among poorest nations in South Asia, 1st; Percent tourist numbers have dropped since 1998, 38; Nepalis killed by Maoists from 1996 to 2005, 4500; Nepalis killed by government in same period, 8200.

The highlights of print articles and other features in the magazine can be found at: http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0511/feature3/index.html.

* Dalits in International Crisis Group's Asia Report, "Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy"

“Of the [Maoists’ United Revolutionary People's Council] URPC 's 37 members, twenty are from ethnic and dalit communities, while there were eleven members of ethnic and dalit communities in the sixteen-member United People's Front, dissolved in 2000. There is also a significant presence of ethnic, dalit and Tarai leaders in the central committee. Whatever the composition of the leadership, the fact that the Maoists have made an apparently serious commitment to minority rights -- something neither the palace nor the mainstream parties have ever been able to bring themselves to do – means that they offer an alternative that many in such communities, especially the radicalised and disillusioned youth, find attractive.”
-- Nepal's Maoists: Their Aims, Structure and Strategy, International Crisis Group’s Asia Report N°104 (27 October 2005) in page 15.

Summary of the Crisis Group's report:
Despite the Maoist rebels' brutality and violence, there can be no resolution of
Nepal's conflict without understanding them, confronting their strengths and tackling their political agenda. Through both force of arms and force of ideas, they have emerged as a formidable political organisation, which will not be easily displaced. The unilateral three-month ceasefire they announced in September is welcome, though temporary and conditional. Now they will have to work hard to convince mainstream parties they can abandon their violent repression. The government's refusal to reciprocate the ceasefire, however, encourages renewed conflict. There are encouraging signs that serious negotiations are possible, but the Maoists will rejoin mainstream politics only if they see sufficient advantages and are convinced they will not make greater gains by other means.
You can find the full report at: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3768&f=1

* “Inside Nepal’s Revolution”, what the National Geographic Magazine has to say about?

“The rebels recruited a spectrum of disenfranchised Nepalis- women, ethnic minorities, Dalits (untouchables), the unemployed, and underemployed youths- offering them hope where there had been none”, says National Geographic Magazine in an artile by Ed Douglas with photographs by Jonas Bendiksen (November, 2005, pages 46-65).

Also featured with the article are the alarming statistical figures of Nepal: Population, 27 million; Percent of Nepalis who live below the national poverty line, 31; Rank of Nepal among poorest nations in South Asia, 1st; Percent tourist numbers have dropped since 1998, 38; Nepalis killed by Maoists from 1996 to 2005, 4500; Nepalis killed by government in same period, 8200.

The highlights of print articles and other features in the magazine can be found at: http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0511/feature3/index.html

* Dalits set for nationwide stir against takeover

The Joint Dalit Struggle Committee (JDSC) has decided to organise a nationwide movement against the “unconstitutional and undemocratic” royal proclamation of February 1, restore democracy and ensure protection of human rights in the country.

“The third extended meeting of the committee held here yesterday has decided to stage a mass movement,” said a release issued here by the committee. The extended meeting has decided to go ahead in a united manner against the royal takeover with the conclusion that the takeover has annulled people’s rights granted by the people’s movement of 1990 and has blocked efforts to provide reservation to suppressed Dalit communities.

The JDSC has also decided to join the ongoing movement of the seven-party alliance against autocracy and to restore democracy in the nation.

As part of the movement, an interaction will be organised within a week on the role of the Dalit community in the movement for the democracy and protest meets will be organised in various parts of the nation.

The scenes of the protests will be Dhangadhi of the farwestern region on November 12, Nepalgunj of the mid-western region on November 14, Pokhara of the western region on November 24. Birgunj of the mid-region on December 1 and Birtamode of the eastern region on December 23.

According to Padma Lal Biswokarma, president of the Society for the Liberation of Oppressed Dalit Castes Nepal, the meeting has decided to fight for restructuring the state to provide equality, social justice and proportionate participation of Dalit community in all sectors of the country. Besides, the meeting has also demanded the government annul all ordinances and declarations made by the present ‘unconstitutional’ government, including the one on media.

At present, the committee members include Padma Lal Biswokarma, Jitu Gautam, Min Biswokarma, Rajan Biswokarma, Kesh Man Shreepaili and Aahuti. Biswokarma said the next gathering of the committee will extend and restructure it. “No Dalit organisation now supports the monarch,” he claimed, adding that all the national level Dalit organisations have signalled solidarity for their movement.

A joint gathering of all Dalit organisations had formed JDSC right after the royal takeover on March 5, 2005.
Source: Himalayan News Service, Kathmandu, October 23, 2005.

Related News (published later):
Dalitharu Andolanma [Dalits in Revolution, in Nepali, The Kantipur Kathmandu, October 31, 2005.

* JUP Nepal opposes Government’s attack on Kantipur FM

Jana Utthan Parishad (JUP-Nepal) has released a press statement opposing the Government’s attack on Kantipur FM last Friday. The statement jointly released by its President Man Bahadur BK and General Secretary Yam Bahadur Kisan reads as, “We vehemently denounce and oppose the looting and interference of Kantipur FM carried out on October 21 by the State through the use of its armed security forces against the spirit of the Constitution of Nepal Kingdom 1990, assaulting nakedly on the peoples’ right to information and freedom of expression. We appeal with the State not to interfere with the peoples’ right to information, to respect and follow the rule of law, and not to undermine the power of people and the media.”

* Discriminatory Dairy Depot

A newly-established dairy depot in the Baitadi district headquarters has stopped buying milk from dalit farmers due to objections from some 'high-caste' customers. The latter refused to purchase milk-made products of the dairy, accusing them of using milk sold by 'low caste' communities. News Source: Kantipur Publications’ Baitadi correspondent in Kathmandu Post (October 22, 2005).

Related arcticle (in Nepali): Dugdha Sahakari Ra Jatiya Bhedbhav

* A common feast during Dashain festival

Locals from Barrachaur and Ranipani VDCs in Parbat district organized a common feast during Dashain festival with a view to remove racial discrimination. A joint gathering of VDCs, which was organized by Dalit Jana Samaj, Self Dependent Development Forum, Deepsikha Youth Club and Navabihani Dalit Women Network, declared the villages a racial discrimination free zone.
News Source: Kantipur Publications’ Saptari correspondent in Kathmandu Post (
October 22, 2005).

* Isolated dalits turn to India

After the blockade imposed by locals of Sakarpura VDC upon a dalit community, some seven Chamar (dalit) families have been forced to depend on Indian markets since a week.

Accusing the dalits of not playing drums during the Dashain festival and refusing to clean carcasses, some 'high caste' locals warned villagers not to provide anything to the dalits. The former also directed locals not to buy anything from the dalits and boycott them in every activity.

After being isolated in their own hometown, the community has started to sell milk at Kunali, an Indian village, while they have to reach another Indian market Topa bazaar, to buy essential commodities.

"Local shopkeepers do not sell us even a packet of salt," acting Chairman of Dalit Service Association Saptari Jaksan Ram said. Those who violate the instruction are made to pay a fine of Rs 551. "We cannot sell anything to them due to the fine system," said local merchant, Lalit Mandal.

The district administration has corresponded with the police to bring nine persons including former VDC chairman Gunu Mukhiya, who led the campaign, to the administration.
News Source: Kantipur Publications’ Saptari correspondent in Kathmandu Post (
October 22, 2005).

* Blockade imposed on Dalit village

Some upper caste locals of Sarakpura VDC in the district of Saptari, have imposed a blockade on a Dalit hamlet in ward no 2 since Thursday evening, "punishing" the latter for not playing drum during a local fete. Consequently, Six Chamar (Dalit) families in the area have been prohibited from using the public path and have been denied access to rice mills, medical shops and public taps. Some Dalits have even fled the village and come to the district headquarters, Rajbiraj, seeking justice.

According to Dhukhi ram, one of the victims, last year they had decided not to play the drum at the local fete held in Taradevi temple during Dashain, and also not to remove carcasses from the village. “Even our relatives shy away from us if we perform such jobs," according to him, they were compelled last year to play the drum but refused to throw away carcasses.

"And they (upper caste people) themselves threw the carcasses from the area since last year after the Charmars refused to do it ," said Raj Kumar Mandal, Chairman of Dalit Sudhar Sangh, an organization working for the welfare of oppressed Dalits in the area. Source: Kathmandu Post, 17 oct.2005. Posted by Deepa Risal

* Dalit Freedom Network Hosts Historic Conference on Capitol Hill: Conference and House Hearing Mark a New Awareness of Caste Atrocities in India [Click here]

* Talks possible with present govt: Maoist leader [Click here]

* DalitWatch During Summer Months of 2005 [Click here for a random collection by Laurie Vasily]

* Financial aid for deserving Dalit students on cards

Deserving students from backward communities and women may get loans and financial aid from the government to pursue studies from grade 11 to the Masters level. With the objective of providing loans and financial aid to deserving Dalit students and women, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is preparing a draft on the issue. The Ministry of Education and Sports has already given a verbal nod to our scheme, said the UGC chairman, Professor Dr Bidur Prasad Upadhyaya. The draft is awaiting a formal approval from the Education ministry. More on this story [Renu Kshetry in Himalayan Times, Kathmandu, September 1, 2005].

* ‘Land bank’ to empower Dalits

Deputy Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Lekh Nath Bhusal, said today that the government has proposed land bank policy to minimise poverty. Speaking at a workshop titled ‘Increasing Dalit Recruitment’ organised by the Dalit Welfare Organisation (DWO), he said the proposed land bank — a project to distribute land to the poor — would have a solid and concrete policy to empower economically disadvantaged communities, including the Dalits. For more on this story: >>> Himalayan News Service [Kathmandu, August 4, 2005]

* Three categories of human rights situation in Nepal include socio-economic discrimination

Chief of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, Ian Martin, said that human rights situation in Nepal should be looked under three categories: violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws relating to conflict; human rights situation after February 1; and long standing human rights issues such as discrimination on grounds of social and economic backgrounds. >>> More on this news.

* Badi women turn to other professions

Some 15 Badi women in the Ghorahi area and 26 in Tulsipur area in Dang district have taken up calling like vegetable and fruit cultivation, goat keeping and pig rearing, according to Dalit Women Unity Center’s Tulsipur Program Director Krishna Nepali, reports Rastriya Samachar Samity (RSS). Before this initiative, they were otherwise forced to continue the oldest profession as their traditional calling. More on this story >>> RSS News in Gorkhapatra Online

According to Nepali, 15 out of 50 women associated with the Badi Women Creative Group Dang and 75 women associated with the Dalit Women Unity Center Tulsipur have been living independent lives. Some 200 women from Srigaon, Leltar, Tulsipur, Bagar and Pakaiya have given up the flesh trade and taken to new kinds of work, said Dalit Women Unity Center Tulsipur chairman Nirmala Gupta. Badi Women Creative Group member Shanta Nepali said Dadi women have reformed a hundred percent but society itself has not reformed, adding that Dang district should be declared as a district free of the flesh trade.

* Golchhe Sarki is Assistant Minister

Mr. Golchhe Sarki, a well known political figure from Dalit Commuunity has been inducted as Assistant Minister for Labour and Transport Management into the current Council of Ministers under the Chairmanship of King Gyanendra in a Cabinet reshuffle today. [For more on this news >>> The Kantipur Online, July 14, 2005]. Mr. Sarki's ministrial appointment adds yet another welcome point towards including Dalits in high places of governance in any regime; however, the democratic rule by a government duly elected by the vast masses of people will be the only ultimate way out for the country.

* A Dalit Community getting organized to fight against caste discrimination

A group of dalits belonging to Dom Mestar caste in Siraha district are getting organized themselves to fight against the caste based discrimination and untouchability. About 70 members of the community are determined to open an association of their own to address various problems and hardships they are facing in their every day life. Many of the dalit parents are denied certificates of their citizenship, causing difficulty in their childrens' admission to schools. They are facing the problem of caste discrimination among dalits castes as well. There are also various forms of unjustified sanctions imposed on them by so called upper castes. >>>More on this story in The Kantipur Online [July 10, 2005].

* Education Ministry’s intensive plans to begin from July 16

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) of Nepal has come up with intensive schemes for the secondary education for the coming fiscal year that begins July 16. “Aiming to provide dalit and girls access to education, we have selected 10 districts especially of the remote areas”, Lava Prasad Tripathi, spokesman at the MoES was reported as saying. >>>More on this story in The Rising Nepal [July 05, 2005].

* Dalit thrashed for using public tap

Dal Bahadur BK, a dalit peasant of Durgamod VDC-6 of the Doti district, was severely beaten up by three of his neighbors belonging to the "so-called" upper caste recently, for touching a public tap, used only by non-dalits of the village, reports Kantipuronline. [July 4, 2005]

* Term of two Dalit MPs in the Upper House ending today

The term of two Dalit Honorable Members of Parliament Lal Bahadur BK (UML) and Rishi Babu Pariyar (Royal nominee) in the National Assembly (Upper House) of Nepal is ending on June 26, 2005 along with 19 other MPs. During their 6-year-long term, the members could actively exercise their constitutional duty only for about two years due to the political disturbances in the country, the nepalnews.com reported.

Nepal is currently facing a constitutional deadlock resulting from the dismissal of a democratically elected government in October 5, 2002 and royal takeover for direct rule since February 1, 2005. Ever since the dismissal of the elected government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba, absolutely no functional representative directly elected by the people exists at any level of governance in the country. [June 26, 2005]

* Water tap incidents rife- These are real cases of human rights violations

[Nepaldalitinfo’s note: In the Sarlahi case reported below, the police station merely sending letters to what is now a defunct VDC instead of directly summoning the culprits was doing no more than showing a cardinal sign of general apathy of the law enforcement agency that is usually evident in the cases of water tap incidents or other cases of untouchablity practice in public places. All the recent incidents akin to Renu’s case are the real cases of human rights violations that cannot not be taken lightly, and should be brought to the attention of Mr. Ian Martin, the Leader of UN Human Rights Monitoring Team, when he will be visiting DNF on June 22, 2005 ].

Renu Bishwakarma becomes another victim of tap water untouchability. The incident happened on 9th of May 2005 early 5 O’clock in the morning in the Chandrapur of Pattharkot VDC-8 of Sarlahi District. Renu Bishwakarma came to fill water at a public well in her village. Shila Devi Mandal of the same village was already there, filling water her in her buckets. Renu by mistakes touches Shila Devi’s bucket, and then the pandemonium began. Shila Devi started yelling and abusing Renu as a prostitute and witch, and insulted her in public place.

Renu couldn’t bear the torture meted out to her, and approached Downtrodden Upliftment Society (DUS) of Hariwan, Sarlahi, which is a member organization of DNF for help to get justice. DUS informed the local police to charge Shila Devi. Police Station forwarded two letters to the VDC to send her to police station but there was no response from her side.

Again in the 26th May and 2nd June the same incident repeated. This time there was one more lady named Yonjanni along with Shila Devi. So, this practice seemed to increase day to day.

DUS in the association of DNF and other Human Rights Organization arranged a peace rally in the 11th of June in the same village. But the so called high caste people of same village interrupted the rally and started hitting the participants of the peace rally with sticks and bamboos. As a result of which 17 year old Uttam Pariyar, one of the participants, was badly injured.

In the 11 pm of 12th of June, Narbu Lama, Mangal Singh and Darlami Kale threatened the Dalits that they would rape the Dalit females, hurt, kill to other who so ever raises this issue.

DNF to support this movement has visited National Human Rights Commission & National Dalit Commission, today on the 14th June, to inform the incident and ask for necessary actions. DNF is also planning to meet Ministry of Home tomorrow to take necessary action on this incident.

The practice of untouchability and increasing abuse upon Dalits in public water taps must stop! All the concerned organizations and individuals should get organized with a common voice should get organized to combat the social evils of this practice. Report by Pratik Pande [June 21, 2005]

* Dalits Used by Rebels In Brutal War

“… the Maoists often focus their recruitment efforts on "[dalits]," who by some estimates account for nearly a fifth of Nepal's 27 million people and occupy the lowest level of its rigid caste system. As a result, government security forces tend to treat most them, with suspicion, increasing their vulnerability to various forms of discrimination and abuse, according to human rights groups.”
Full Story in washington.com [Washington Post Foreign Service; Tuesday, June 14, 2005; Page A18]

Note: nepaldalitinfo urges the newsmedia of the world to use politically correct word “dalits” and discourage promoting the word “untouchables” in signifying the one-fifth of the Nepali population which are victimized as untouchables for centuries, when reporting such a news.

* Deuba's party expels ex-minister Pariyar for praising king

Nepali Congress (Democratic) party (NCD) has expelled Hari Shankar Pariyar, a senior member of the party and former assistant minister for supporting King Gyanendra. He was inducted, apparently to represent Dalit community, into the erstwhile Council of Ministers headed by the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba ousted by 2/1 royal takeover. [June 4, 2005]
Related News

* Japan to provide grant for Dalit scholarships

The Government of Japan has agreed to provide a counterpart fund of Rs 50 million under the Non-Project Grant Aid for implementing the Project of Dalit Scholarship for Primary School Children in 38 disadvantaged districts of the Himalayan Kingdom, nepalnews.com quoted a press communiqué released today by Japanese Embassy in Kathmandu as saying. "Nepal will use the counterpart fund to provide scholarships for about 200,000 dalit children of primary school level in the allocated areas", as per the bilateral agreement. The details [June 2, 2005]

* International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination- Video documentary broadcast in Nepal Television

A video documentary report of International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination was aired in Nepali language by Nepal Television on 1st of June 2005 at 7:00 pm (Kathmandu local time). Work is underway to produce its English version for worldwide distribution.

* The issue of Dalit representation features in BBC interview with Bhattarai

In an exclusive interview broadcast by BBC Radio’s Nepali Service today, the top Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai explained that righteous representation of oppressed castes- nationalities & Dalits and women in the parliamentary elections could not happen under the [Nepal's existing] Constitution due to its limitations. [May 30, 2005]

* "Dinning together" rehearsal to remove untouchability

A "Dinning Together" program was organized at Beni, the headquarters of Myagdi district in the western hills of Nepal, as a showcase of public rehearsal to remove both inter-caste and intra-dalit practices of untouchability. The public dinner was attended by representatives of various political parties, government administration, security forces, civic organizations, dalits and journalists.

On the occasion of the program, some 13 couples married inter-caste have also been recognized and felicitated. The details [in Nepali, The Kantipur, May 28, 2004]

* Continuing Dalit atrocity must be condemned

A 17 years old girl of Bishwakarma Caste has been physically assaulted by members of a so called upper caste family of her neighbourhood in Lekhanath Municipality of Kaski district. She was seriously injured making her unconscious. One of the key family members who assaulted her is no other than Hemant Shahi, who was the elected Chief of a Ward Committee of a now dissolved Rural Municipality near Pokhara city, a popular tourist destination in the country.
Related News

It is another ridiculously outrageous case that the victim was accused of having touched the water pot of the so called higher caste neighbours while she was herself filling the water from the common water tap. It is reported that police and human rights activists have been informed of the incident. More on this story [The Kantipur daily]
(Report by: Rupesh Silwal based on the news report by Prem Nepali.)

The nepaldalitinfo adds:
The incidents of atrocities on Dalits such as the one that happened in Lekhnath could easily be overshadowed by other problems such as general lack of freedom of expression and human rights in the country. Those concerned with Dalit rights need to be watchful of such continuing incidents and condemn them, and the culprits should be brought to justice. The nepaldalitinfo had predicted a setback in gaining the momentum of Dalit rights in
Nepal at the time of crisis, especially during the period of the emergency rule and/or the current period of political uncertainty, when traditional fundamentalists tend to have upperhand. [May 20, 2005]

* Maoists open fire at passenger bus, abduct dalits, reports nepalnews.com (May 19, 2005)

……… Maoists, Monday, abducted five innocent dalits from Belkot of Nuwakot district. The whereabouts of the abductees and reasons behind the abductions are not known…..
>>>[Details on this Story.]

* Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) Submits Reservation Modality to HMG/N- A Summary Report

A delegation team of Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) submitted, on 4th May 2005, a Reservation Modality for the Dalit Community of Nepal to Dr. Tulsi Giri, Vice Chairman in the HMG Council of Ministers headed by the King of Nepal. In the last few years, the Government has announced to make provision of reservation for the Dalit community, but has not yet been able to implement it. >>>[Details on this Story.]

* Political parties’ consensus on resolving the current crisis in Nepal

Seven political parties representing 90 % elected seats in the dissolved Lower House of the Parliament have agreed on a consensus commitment to resolve the current political crisis in Nepal, according to the report by INSN.ORG citing PTINews.

BBC Nepali Service reports:
“The parties have also indicated the needs for having provisions of referendum on issues of national importance, a system of [national] army being responsible to the democratically elected government, reservation, proportional development and representation” in place. [
May 8, 2005]

* Maoists accept responsibility for Pokhrel's killing (Nepalnews.com)

The Maoist-affiliated Dalit Mukti Morcha (Dalit Liberation Front) has owned up responsibility for the killing of 47-year-old top Hindu priest, Pundit Narayan Prasad Pokhrel, reports nepalnews.com on May 06, 2005.

The online news update further reports:
BBC Nepali Service on Friday quoted a Maoist leader as saying that their organisation had decided to ‘eliminate’ Pokhrel for allegedly “indulging in various crimes in the disguise of religion.”….

Pokhrel used to openly invite members of dalit community in religious ceremonies and encourage their equal participation in religious rites…..

“Major political parties, rights groups and Hindu organisations have condemned the killing of Pokhrel and have asked the government to bring the culprit to book….
More on this story

* Dalit leaders released

MP Lalbahadur Bishwakarma who was under custody of the security agencies, and was undergoing treatment at the Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu for his multiple health problems, has now been released from the detention on April 30, 2005, and discharged from the hospital as well on same day. It is reported that he is now staying with his family at his residence near Kalanki; however, according to the family sources, he has been advised by the doctors to be in complete bed rest for the next few months, and is not allowed to talk with the outsiders. Therefore, he cannot be reached even on the telephone.

Meanwhile, another Dalit leader Jitu Gautam, who was also detained by the security agencies for protesting against 2/1 royal takeover, was released more than a week ago, and he is said to be doing well. (Report by Hira Vishawakarma, May 3, 2005)

Laurie Vasily adds:
It is not immediately clear what happened to three Dalit activists, Rohit Hingmang (Pariyar), Pahal Man Shiva (Pariyar) and a person named Tirtha, who were reportedly arrested earlier by the police during a demonstration against the royal takeover, organized by the Dalit Mukti Sangathan. A prominent Dalit intellectual and leader Ranendra Barali was also arrested in Chitwan from a protest against the royal takeover.

* Parliamentarian Lal Bahadur Bishwakarma ill in custody

Lal Bahadur Bishwakarma, a sitting member of the upper house [National Assembly] is reported to be ill in police custody, says Web Chautari [April 26, 2005 ]. Parliamentarian Bishwakarma, who is a prominent national leader of CPN-UML from Dalit community, was arrested from a rally protesting against the 2/1 Royal takeover, on March 14 from Ason area of Kathmandu. He is reported to be on treatment at Teaching Hospital [Tribhuwan University's] in the city. His relatives are not allowed to meet him even at hospital.

* The Supreme Court orders for a new concrete law against untouchability

The Supreme Court has ordered on 8th of Baisakh 2062 (April 21, 2005) that the Government of Nepal should make a new concrete law for the elimination of untouchability. This order was passed to the Office of the Prime Minister, the Law Ministry and the Home Ministry to form a committee comprising of renowned leaders and organizations, to study the nature of cases related to untouchability and to make the law immediately so as to ensure justice to the millions of victims of untouchability in the country. The apex court’s decision was given over a writ petition filed by LANCAU Nepal (www.lancaunepal.org) a few months back (Kartik 2061) claiming that the provisions of the Civil Code (Muluki Ain) for possibility of punishment for the convict are ultra-vires [or contrary and inconsistent] with the provision of the Constitution of Nepal which seeks mandatory punishment for the crime.

The landmark verdict was given by the full bench including the Judges Min Bahadur Rayamajhi and Khil Raj Regmi. Senior Advocate Daman Nath Dhungana, Advocate Ratna Bahadur Bagchand, Advocate Narayan Nepal, Advocate Mameeta Nepali Giri and Advocate Santosh Giri pleaded on behalf of the writ petitioners, while the Government Attorney Mr. Narendra Pathak defended the case on behalf of the State. The writ petitioners are now requesting all concerned organizations, lawyers and activists to contact LANCAU Nepal office as soon as possible for forming a committee to provide inputs towards drafting the law. [Report by Santosh Giri, April 22, 2005]

Nepaldalitinfo adds:
The apex court’s verdict is a highly welcome and timely step forward, which should lead to the path towards eventually fulfilling one of the key demands of Dalits that states as follows:
"Legislate a comprehensive and compelling law to forbid all forms of caste discrimination and untouchability, removing flaws and ambiguity from the existing laws. Put in action the severe punitive measures against atrocities committed to Dalits, but not merely showing in the paperwork."

* Mohanpur Brahmins dump untouchability

Locals of Mohanpur in Saptari district are reported to have announced recently their village to be free of untouchability. "The locals carried the dead body of one dalit [person], Ram Bahadur Pariyar, and took part in his funeral procession and last rites", says a news report by Kantipuronline. This was an evidence to happen against the age-old tradition, demonstrating that religious and social traditions were not hard binding to willing people, while the hardliner statutory provisions in the history of Nepal were probably the main factor that was forcing the people for sustaining the caste discrimination for so long.

* UN Human Rights Commission’s Nepal related resolution: Implement anti-racial convention recommendations.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights unanimously adopted the Nepal related resolution on April 20, 2005 under Item-19- Technical cooperation and advisory services in Nepal at the ongoing 61st international convention in Geneva. It is expected that the resolution adopted under item-19 would help in restoration of democratic process and civil rights in Nepal.

Also, the UN Commission resolution urges the Government to implement the recent recommendations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination made in March 2004.

Excerpts from the adopted resolution:
"The Commission on Human Rights,
Recalling that
Nepal, having ratified six major human rights treaties, has freely accepted the obligation to protect the human rights of the people of Nepal,..."
OP 12 - Welcomes the efforts of His Majesty’s Government to comply with the obligation to submit periodic reports to the respective treaty bodies, in particular under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and urges the Government to implement their recommendations, particularly the recent recommendations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of January 2004 and of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of March 2004,

Full text of Technical cooperation and advisory services in Nepal – Item 19: Commission on Human Rights Resolution: 2005 (Source:www.webchautari.com).
Related link (Source: insn.org).

* Photos provide rare look into caste system in rural Nepal- by Matt Whorf [Thursday, April 14, 2005]

Eva Kassell, a Lexington architect and photographer, who rather humbly describes herself as an amateur photographer, is showing her photographs throughout this April in the Clemens Gallery of the Hingham Public Library in Boston (USA). The exhibit, titled "Women and Girls of Taklung - Gender and Caste in rural Nepal," portrays the impact of caste and gender oppression on women and girls in rural Nepal. Kasell's photo collection will manage to take local viewers further into rural Nepalese society than they've ever likely imagined, with high quality and visually stunning images bringing to life the faces of the Dalit women…

* The King's Regime Appoints a Dalit as Zonal Administrator

One of the key demands of Dalit movement in Nepal is to have proportional representation of Dalits in all political appointments made by the Government. In this respect, the recent appointment of Regional Administrators and Zonal Administrators made by the present King’s regime is a positive step forward, as it realizes Dalit representation by at least 5% of the total number.

The current regime headed by the King is considered to be autocratic, and the current appointment of Zonal Administrators reminds everyone of infamous Anchaladhis (Zonal commissioners) of Panchayat era dark days. However, if one recalls the events in the history, there are some remarkable things happened for Dalits lately under direct rule of the King. It is a widely acknowledged fact that the problems and issues of Dalits surfaced with genuine concerns greatly during the democratic regimes following popular movement of 1990, but no Government until 2002 October Royal takeover could dare appointing a single Dalit person in the Council of Ministers nor in any other significant political public appointments. The tradition of neglecting Dalits was broken by the King when he appointed Mr. Prakash Chitrakar Pariyar as the Assistant Minister for Land Reform. This was followed by the subsequent nominated government of Sher Bahadur Deuba, which appointed two Assistant Ministers from Dalit community, Mr. Harishankar Pariyar and Lalbahadur Vishwakarma.

The current regime has appointed 6 regional administrators and 14 zonal administrators (pretty much like Anchaladhis of Panchayat era). Among 14 zonal administrators appointed, one is Mr. Uttar Tamta, a young Dalit leader from a remote district of Darchula. Mr. Tamta currently heads a national Dalit organization called Nepal Rastriya Dalit Samaj Kalyan Sangh, which has its branches in 68 districts of Nepal. By his appointment as Zonal Administrator for Karnali Zone, he is faced with the challenges of extremely arduous conditions of his administrative tasks in one of the hot beds of the current conflict. On congratulating him for his high level appointment, it should be hoped that he will use his power intelligently and conscientiously in favour of people as a judicious equalizer of interacting forces rather than merely as a naïve agent of regression, and play a vital role in leading warring parties to realize the importance of peace and human rights in real sense, and bringing peoples’ democratic power back to themselves.

It is also hoped that further appointments of Dalits in high public positions such as in constitutional bodies, diplomatic missions, judiciaries, military and civil services will be followed from this point forward by all forms of governments ruling the country in the days to come.

However, the Nepalese Government’s genuine resolve for liberating Dalits from the centuries of State sponsored inhuman caste discrimination will be seen as realized only when the State, through a royal decree or a parliamentary bill passed, expresses an explicit apology for the historical injustices caused by the State on the occupational caste people, and makes appropriate provisions to compensate them.[April 13, 2005]

Also at this link as:
Dalit Representation & King's Appointment

* THE TIMES OF INDIA INTERVIEW (unnamed): Himalayan Blunder [SUNDAY, APRIL 10, 2005]

Will you make common cause with the Maoists and if so whom will you speak to?

The problem is that they believe in violent means and we do not. There can be no militaristic solution. There is no consensus among the Maoists themselves. I hear from time to time that they have severe differences among themselves. But I guess when the time comes they will send the right man. They want power-sharing, we are not averse to that but without violence. There are many genuine problems in
Nepal, poverty, untouchability. These are the breeding grounds for terror.

* Ensure that needs of specific groups such as Dalits, women and children [are addressed], states Arjun Karki.

Arjun Karki Statement at UNCHR 61st Session - Wednesday, March 30, 2005 at 13:31
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Bangkok, Thailand

United Nations Commission on Human Rights 61st Session, 14March – 22 April, 2005
Agenda Item 9: Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world.

* Nepali dalit rights activist meets Indian dalit leaders and intellectuals, reports Nepal Democracy Alliance, New Delhi [2 April 2005]. Details.
>>Related Document

* Prof. Man Bahadur Vishwakarma Released

Prof. Man Bahadur Vishwakarma has been released along with a few other activists of democracy as per the release order of the Supreme Court following a writ petition filed against the state by renowned lawyer Harihar Dahal. He was arrested on the charges of agitating against the state, was later issued an order of his detention for three months, and was kept in custody for 42 days until yesterday when he got back home.

On democracy day, the 7th of Falgun (February 18), Prof. Vishwakarma along with other peaceful demonstrators demanding the restoration of multiparty democracy in the country was arrested, and put into a kind of jail at Nepal Electricity Authority’s Training facility turned into a detention center.

By the 2/1 Royal takeover, many articles of the present Constitution relating to fundamental rights to organization and expression of views have been suspended. As a result, many political activists in Nepal have been put either in house arrest or in the Government custody.

In the last two weeks, another Dalit leader and former member of National Dalit Commission Mr Jitu Gautam has also been arrested, and put into the same custody as Prof. Vishwakarma.

According to Vishwakarma, there were 95 political detainees with him in the beginning. Although they were released one after another, there are still 64 people waiting for their release. They were not allowed to read any newspaper in the beginning, but later on, they were provided with the state owned media publications such as The Gorkhapatra and The Rising Nepal. Only close relatives of the detainees were allowed to visit, and through them they managed to obtain other newspapers which they were able to share with each other. They even managed to get hold of a radio set, and they were able to listen to BBC news and update themselves about the current political situation of the country. While listening to the BBC, they had to keep a few people at the gate of their hall to make sure that security people would not come in and take the set away. Since passing time was the most difficult task for the detainees, they were later on provided with Chess and Ludo to play. The security personnel did not bother them too much, and gave the detainees the same food they eat.

The best part of the detainment was that the inmates came from all the agitating political parties such as UML, NC Girija, NC Democratic, Majdur Kisan Party, they were all united; all shared the same view on democracy and did not have any conflict, rather they were sharing their personal belongingness, Vishwakarma further added. He treasures the whole experience, and feels that such a great sense of unity and belongingness is very important in all movements, particularly among Dalits fighting for the common cause. After his 42 day ordeal, Prof. Vishwakarma is even more determined to fight for restoring multiparty democracy in the country, and will soon resume the activity. [Report received from Kathmandu on March 31, 2005]

* Vigilante group kills Ram Kishore Chamar

Ram Kishore Chamar, 40, a member of Dalit community of Somani VDC -7 in Nawalparasi district, was shot dead by the members of the Government sponsored Village Defense Committee against the Maoists [Vigilante group] on March 26.

The group took Chamar in control charging him of protesting and not supporting the committee. The group mutilated his right hand, made him eat his own chopped hand after burning and shot him dead little away from his house.
Source: A story by Narayan Parajuli, INSEC-Online, March 30, 2005.

* Prominent Dalit leader Lal Bahadur Bishwakarma arrested

... Police reportedly arrested more than 750 political activists across the country for staging peaceful demonstrations demanding restoration of peace and democracy in the country. 19 demonstrators including five former Upper House members were arrested in Kathmandu, including Akkal Bahadur Bishta of NC-D, Bir Bahadur Singh of CPN-UML, Lal Bahadur Bishwakarma of CPN-UML and Mahesh Mani Dixit...
Source: Pakistani spanner into the Nepal Crisis: A briefing paper from Asian Centre for Human Rights, New Delhi, India, 17 March 2005

* Update on Prof. Man Bahadur Vishwakarma

Prof. Man Bahadur Vishwakarma is still in custody amid very tight security at the premises of NEA training centre situated at Kharipati Bhaktapur, as his wife is reported as saying over a telephone conversation. Only close relatives are allowed to visit him after much interrogation and one at a time. He has now grown big beard with his thin body.

Along with other fighters for democracy who were arrested in the aftermath of 2/1 Royal takeover, Prof. Vishwakarma is kept in a very tight custody, and now they all have been issued arrest papers alleging them to disturb the public places with an intention of going against the state. A case at the Supreme Court is also going on, and no one knows when they will be released. Though physically not tortured, these political prisoners are not allowed to access newspapers and other source of information other than state published newspapers, and are having difficulties in spending their time in the custody.(March 23, 2005)

* 40th International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination Roundabout:
”Caste system should be abolished once and for all”, says Swami Prapannacharya

The 40th International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination was observed much like a serious day of national engagement in Nepal. This was true at least going by the media coverage the occasion has received amidst ongoing emergency rule with many basic civil rights suspended and general media restrictions imposed in the country.

In Kathmandu, the international day was observed over a number of separate functions organized by National Dalit Commission, Dalit NGO Federation, 40th International Day Joint Preparation Committee of 16 organisations, Feminist Dalit Organisation and UNESCO Commission for Nepal.

Over a function organized on the occasion in Kathmandu by National Dalit Commission, Rajparishad member Swami Prapannacharya advocated that caste system should be abolished once and for all. He said, “Without bringing the marginalized caste groups into the national mainstream, the nation cannot pursue its development goals”. Another speaker of the same platform Mod Nath Prashrit, a well known political and literary figure, said that caste discrimination has defamed the Hindu values, is against the human rights and humanitarian law, and was imposed in the past to exploit the labour of the workers. [Full story]

In a workshop on the topic “sex and social discrimination- an introduction” organized on the occasion, local development minister Khadga Bahadur GC revealed that the government is working on formulation of programmes to bring women, dalits and aboriginal nationalities into national mainstream. [Full story in Nepali]

In a separate function organized on the occasion by UNESCO Commission, former ambassador Dr Mohan Prasad Lohani said that no sane mind or civilized person could accept and tolerate discrimination between human beings on grounds of race, colour and ethnic origin. He also urged the Nepalese youth to resist any attempt to encourage discrimination or create rifts in the society which is multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious. He stressed the need of educational reforms right from the school level, although it sounded like his hypocritical mindset when he was reported as saying that even in the schools and colleges, it is sometimes difficult for a teacher to avoid the issue of discrimination. [Full story]

A Dalit intellectual Hira Bishwakarma addressing a function indicated that this International Day has been made largely a domain of Dalits alone; however, aboriginal nationalities are too progressively realizing the importance of this day.

In Mid-western district of Dang, a local function of 40th International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination was organized by Nepal Dalit Womens’ Association. “Education is the key to end caste discrimination”, said Narayan Kumar Acharya, Rector of Mahendra Sanskrit University, addressing the function. For more on this story (in Nepali).

Clearly, some of the prominent personalities like Swami Prapannacharya and Mod Nath Prashrit were expressing their views right from their hearts. However, it has to be seen how the Government’s promise on the substantive programme for Dalits will be forthcoming in near future, as the authorities’ lip services in such an international day had been very attractive in the past (even during Panchayat era), but were never realized. Furthermore, it is an irony that Rector Acharya pointed out the key role of education to end caste discrimination, but the Sanskrit University, of which he is a responsible high official, has not yet opened its door to Dalits for education, nor there has been any efforts made by the University to alleviate the rampant ill effects of caste discrimination in the society.

Other related media coverage:
Govt urged to ensure janajatis’ rights
Every Nepali should receive equal respect (in Nepali)
Demand for equality (in Nepali)
Programmes for Dalit Nationalities and Women in the offing (in Nepali)
[Report by DPR,
March 22, 2005]

* Pokhara society honors an inter-caste marriage

An inter-caste married couple and their families encouraging them for marriage have been felicitated over a social function organized in Pokhara city recently. “One has to be good, no one is high or low by caste”, says Harish Chandra Gurung overwhelmed by his felicitation for allowing his daughter Anukala to marry her lover Krishna Kumar Nepali seven years ago. For full story reported in The Kantipur (Nepali National Daily, March 08, 2005), click here >>>http://www.kantipuronline.com/nepali/kolnews.php?&nid=33749

* Forest becomes untouchable for dalits

Eleven Dalits households in Ramechhap Sukajaur VDC - 7 have been restricted from entering the forest next to their houses to fetch firewood and fodder for their cattle by non-dalit persons of the area. For full story in The Kathmandu Post (March 06, 2005), please click here >>> http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=33614

* Victim of casteist husband now a disabled

Anita, a resident of Pokhara Municipality – 9, is now a handicapped woman. Soon after her marriage, her husband, who is a so called upper caste person, sprinkled kerosene on her body and set it on fire. For full story in The Kathmandu Post (March 06, 2005), please click here >>> http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=33615

* Professor Man Bahadur Vishwakarma’s Arrest-
Call for international support for immediate release of all fighters of democracy in

Professor Man Bahadur Vishwakarma, a supporter of democracy and a champion of Dalit rights in Nepal has been arrested on 18th of February while he and other party workers were demonstrating peacefully against the current move of authoritarian government of the country.

Prof. Vishwakarma is now under the custody of security personnel at Kharipati in the premise of Nepal Electricity Authority Training complex. After five days of arrest, only his immediate family member was allowed to visit him, and now it is learnt that a slip to keep him under custody without any charge at least for the next 3 months has been issued.

Prof. Man Bahadur Vishwakarma born 55 years ago in Arghakhanchi district, a western district in rural Nepal comes from a poverty striken Dalit family. He was educated in Ranchi of India. Throughout his schooling he stood first in his class, and got his Masters Degree in science and mathematics. He came back to Nepal in 1978, and started his career as assistant lecturer of mathematics at Amrit Science College under Tribhuwan University. He is still well known among science students in Kathmandu as being a very good teacher of mathematics when he was teaching, and he was well off as an academic professional.

Upon the restoration of multiparty democracy in Nepal in 1990, he was approached by many mainstream political parties including UML and Nepali Congress. Eventually, he joined Nepali Congress, and he has been a very active member of the party since then. A difficult time came in his life to choose between his academic profession and political career. For the larger public good and the cause of his own Dalit community, he decided to join politics, by giving up not only his professorial career but also discontinuing the Ph.D. studies that he was pursuing.

He is now President of Nepal Dalit Sangh, a sister organization of Nepal Congress for Dalit community. With regard to his contribution to Dalit rights, he has played a significant role to have in place a quota system of scholarships for Dalits to study medicine and engineering under Ministry of Education, and also in brining out a national strategy for Dalit upliftment under 9th and 10th Five Year Plan of the government. He has served as Vice President of Dalit Bikas Samity (Committee for Dalit Development) under Ministry of Local Development.

Despite his economic hardship upon leaving behind his academic profession, Prof. Vishwakarma has dedicated himself to the cause of the democracy and Dalit rights in Nepal. He is now under the custody of security personnel under the undemocratic emergency rule in Nepal.

Clearly, without democracy and human rights in a country like Nepal, efforts being made for Dalit rights can not gain momentum. Therefore, a time has come to internationalise the issue and garner much solidarity and support for the immediate release of all the fighters of democracy including Prof. Vishwakarma.
(Posted on
February 23, 2005 based on reporting from Kathmandu)

* Frontline (India's National Magazine from the publishers of THE HINDU):
(Volume 22 - Issue 04,
Feb. 12 - 25, 2005)

NEPAL: A Dalit backlash
URL: http://www.flonnet.com/fl2204/stories/20050225006213400.htm

ANIKET ALAM writes about the current status of Dalits in
Nepal. Some excerpts:

In more than a decade of democracy, there has been only one Dalit elected to Parliament in Nepal, Suvash Darnal says with a wry smile. ...

A recent survey by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Nepal on discrimination and forced labour reveals the complete exclusion of Dalits in leadership positions in all the institutions of the state. There is not one Dalit judge anywhere in the country; no Dalit among the 205 Members of Parliament; no Dalit Minister, administrator, businessman or trader; no Dalit leader in professional and cultural bodies or in civil society organisations. ...

The Maoists are the only ones who have addressed Dalit's problems as a political issue. "This is the reason for their popularity in rural areas, especially among Dalits and other oppressed castes," he adds. The Maoists have banned untouchability and other humiliating social practices, have punished those who insulted Dalits and, for the first time, given land to Dalits, he said. ...

* Govt’s 21-pt action plan to end social exclusion
The Rising Nepal News Top Story, Kathmandu - February 19, 2005

……… The 21-point action plan, recently unveiled by the government, has adopted an integrated development approach aimed at addressing social exclusion, said Dr. Shree Govind Shah, a noted development expert, talking to The Rising Nepal.

………….The successive governments in the past could not introduce inclusive and participatory development agenda to address the Far-West and Mid-West Regions. They also awfully failed to incorporate the concerns of dalits (disadvantaged lot), different ethnic groups, and people from the Terai region that comprise about 45 per cent and 31 per cent of the total population respectively. “The excluded geographical areas must be focused.” He said that development schemes needed to tap indigenous knowledge and local resources to bolster the development process.

* Nepal marks Democracy Day; Govt. cuts phone lines
The Hindu (India, Friday, February 18, 2005) Top Stories

Kathmandu, Feb. 18 (PTI): …………… At least 18 people were arrested when over a hundred protestors held demonstrations chanting slogans against authoritarian rule and absolute monarchy and demanding restoration of democracy and fundamental rights in the kingdom……………

………….Man Bahadur Bishwokarma, President of Nepal Dalit Association affiliated to the Nepali Congress, was among those arrested today………

* The Success Story of Dalit Women’s Craftwork

The household items made by Dalit women with their skillfull craftwork from bamboos and canes are gaining popularity in the market and proving to be profitable for themselves in a few Terai districts of Nepal. The dalits, hardworking as they always are, have been the backbone of the rural economy of Nepal from the time immemorial, which is a fact that was always taken for granted and never got any attention from the government or the people in the country. Please click here for a success story of Dalit women from Janakpur: >>> The Kantipur News (Nepali)

* Excesses and Violence against Dalits Continue on…

Non-dalit people have their ways to commit excesses of caste discrimination on dalits in many hill districts of Nepal on the pretext of their traditional practices, and dalits are penalized very often for the crime they never committed. The reason for committing excessive voilence on dalits can be anything but reasonable.

If a dalit drinks a cup of tea with the milk from a buffalo belonging to non-dalit homestead, buffalo cow’s mammary glands will go sore and the blood will flow out from her teats even if the dalit person would not have seen the buffalo. This is an outrageous but very common reason in many hill districts for many non-dalit households not to sell or give away milk outside their close family circle. This is one thing that any responsible and functioning government can change without much difficulty through both regulatory provision and extension education. For a true story of a related incident reported from far-western district (in Nepali press), please click here >>> The Kantipur News (Nepali)

If any member of a dalit family does something wrong in a village in Nepal, the whole family will have to suffer from the wrath of non-dalit people in the village as a penalty. In a western hill village, two women from a dalit family would have been an accomplish to a murder case along with others non-dalits, but the house and property of only a dalit family involved would be burnt out by non-dalit villagers in addition to the punishment given by the law. This is the kind of an incident that can happen only in a country of lawlessness. But, it happens very often in the villages of Nepal. Click here for a recent incident reported in the Nepali press: >>> The Kantipur News (Nepali)

* Discrimination against Dalits in Nepal [February 10, 2004]

Human Rights Watch has received information about human rights abuses against Dalits in virtually every sphere of life in Nepal, including marriage, religious practice, access to land, and access to education, reporting continued conditions of oppression and abuse. For details: Click the link >>> http://www.kurakani.tk/Article146.phtml [February 10, 2004]

* Protection of human rights a major challenge: NHRC [Source: nepalnews.com; Wednesday, February 09, 2005]

Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Nayan Bahadur Khatri inaugurating the Commission’s office in the eastern region in Biratnagar Tuesday, has said, “protecting human rights has emerged as a major challenge in the country”.....

Khatri further said, “Maoist activities including placing bombs at public thoroughfares, abducting hundreds of students, forcing civilians to dig trenches, among others, have done nothing but create chaos and terror among the public”. He also drew attention of security forces towards activities like rape, extortion and incidences of burning down houses of people belonging to dalit community.”....

For more on this story: >>> http://www.nepalnews.com/archive/2005/feb/feb09/news01.php

* Political whispers on quiet streets [Source: Sunday Express (Indian Express); Sunday, February 06, 2005]

As reports from Kathmandu ……….

“The ambassadors of India, the United States and the United Kingdom have been active in Kathmandu. They are meeting political leaders and former ministers who are not in custody. New Delhi, which appeared to be at odds with G.P. Koirala, is now willing to work with the Nepalese patriarch. “

“Coordinating with each other, the ambassadors met a Dalit leader who was a minister in the dismissed Deuba government. They conveyed their support to the regular political process. In fact, the diplomatic community is working on plans where the ambassadors will go to the houses of the detained leaders, to inquire about their well-being and express solidarity. “

For more on this story: >>> http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=64114


DalitWatch in 2004 prior to 2/1 Royal Takeover:

Nepal Government Appoints National Dalit Commission Officials

The Deuba government has appointed Bhagwat Bishwasi Nepali to the post of the chairman of the National Dalit Commission through its Cabinet decision today, The Kantipur On-line and nepalnews.com reported (Thursday, January 27, 2005). The other members of the commission appointed by the Cabinet are Chandreshwor Khatri, Bisheshwor Rajak, Mina Swarnakar, Dinesh Kumar Achhami, Ram Awatar Paswan, Bishnu Pariyar, Ishwar Bahadur Bika, Tek Bahadur Raika Auji, Teku Nepali and Hari Bahadur Gandharba from Sunsari, Saptari, Dang, Kathmandu, Dhanusha, Tanahau, Dolakha, Kailali, Syangja and Gorakha districts respectively. All the members of the commission appointed belong to the ruling coalition partners, NC(D), CPN-UML, RPP and NSP, according to reports.

All positions of the National Commission members were lying vacant for long time due to apathy of the previous governments nominated by the King, following the fall of elected government in Nepal. The National Commission stands solely on the Cabinet decision in the current vacuum created by the absence of Parliament or any relevant legislative enactment, but has been taken as a positive way forward for advancement of Dalits’ representation in socio-economic and political spheres. Dalits have been demanding that the National Dalit Commission should be elevated to the level of a constitutional body.

Maoists penalize a pundit (village priest) for promoting untouchability

The Maoist rebels have accused Pundit Bhim Nath Parajuli, a Hindu priest of Patale Khet in western district of Myagdi in Nepal, of promoting untouchability in the village, and penalized by expelling him from his village and burning religious books he owned, nepalnews.com reports (Jan 22, 05).
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It is very common that the Hindu priests preach and practice untouchability in the villages of the country.

Dalit Tsunami Disaster Victims Discriminated in India- AFP Reports

There has been disturbing news out in the international media that Dalit victims of the Tsunami disaster in some parts of India are being forced out of relief camps by so called higher caste survivors and are being denied aid supplies. This outrageous incident of caste discrimination among the people who survived from the brink of deaths and unimaginable devastation could be one of the setbacks of India’s decision to organize its relief operations in isolation from the rest of the world, while the world communities are going hand-in-hand in other affected countries in the aftermath of the World’s largest disaster ever. This would not have been a possible thing to happen, if there has been international coordination involved in providing food, water, shelter, clothing and health care to the victims in India as well. The international relief workers would not have taken the traditional caste discrimination for granted during massive humanitarian relief operations of this nature. In such a scenario, it is urged that relevant UN bodies should at least oversee the relief operations in India, even if the country in her all power and wealth is capable to provide reliefs to the victims. [DPR, Jan 8, 2005]