You Might Also be Discriminating Intentionally/Unintentionally
What if you are ‘casteist’? You probably don’t want to believe that you are a ‘casteist,’ one who judges people based on their caste. Having been raised in a caste-based society, most of us tend to have a caste-oriented mindset. Although you might not initially agree, you may potentially have a caste mindset of which you are unaware. Recently, a member of the National Assembly used the offensive proverb- ‘Marepachi Dumai Raja,’ and later apologized with Dalit community for using such a derogative proverb. Have you used derogatory proverbs among your friends? Many people would answer yes. You may have played a game called ‘Chhoi Dum’ during your childhood. Many people are not aware that ‘Dum’ actually refers to Dalit subcaste and it actually promotes ‘untouchability.’ Have you used or heard others using a ‘Kami Game’ while playing cards? This is used by non-Dalits when they play a card game and first winner is characterized as ‘kami game winner,’ meaning the person has less chance to win again. Now do you have how people use this saying when there are Dalits among those playing the game? Do you have similar tendency among your groups?
What is the first thing you do when you meet someone? Ask one’s name, right? Do you also ask their surname? Most of the people do. Do you also make a judgement of them based on their answer? What do you imagine when someone says that they are a Brahmin? Or if the person says he or she is Dalit? Scholars and Dalit-rights activists frequently cite ‘caste mindset’ as the main cause of caste-based discrimination. But what does that really mean? Where did we learn this caste mindset? Psychologists argue that people establish their mindset/system of beliefs in three main spaces: in school, among friends, and in the home. But where did we establish a caste mindset? Maybe at home. Maybe among friends. Below are some examples which you might be unintentionally discriminatory;
Through Games: Chhoi Dum, playing cards, swearing.
When talking to people: Ask surname, argument on quota system and reservation, “oh you look so handsome/beautiful- you do not look like a Dalit!”
Among non-Dalits: How do you talk with other non-Dalits about Dalits?
You Might Have Been Discriminated Against
According to The Caste-Based Discrimination and Untouchability (Offence and Punishment) Act, 2068 (2011), caste-based discrimination and untouchability practices are prohibited in both public and private spheres, and increases punishments for public officials found responsible of discrimination. Caste-based discrimination and untouchability practices may include;
1. Offense in private or public space. Offence may include use of derogative words e.g. Doom, ‘Low caste’
2. Physical or mental harassment.
3. Practice of untouchability.
What are the punishments for discrimination?
The following punishment shall be imposed on a person who commits the following offence:
(a) A person who commits the offence referred to in sub-section (2), (3), (4), (5), (6) or (7) of Section 4 shall be liable to the punishment of imprisonment for a term from three months to three years and a fine from fifty thousand rupees to two hundred thousand rupees.
(b) A person who commits the offence referred to in sub-section (8), (9), (10), (11), (12) or (13) or Section 4 shall be liable to the punishment of imprisonment for a term from two months to two years and a fine from twenty thousand rupees to one hundred thousand rupees.
(c) A person who aids, abets or instigates anyone to commit untouchability or discrimination or attempts to do such act shall be liable to half the punishment prescribed to the principal offender.
(1a) If a person sentenced for any offence referred to in Section 4 again commits any offence referred to in that Section, such a person shall be liable to double the punishment set forth in clause (a) or (b) of sub-section (1) for each instance.
(2) If a person holding public post commits the offence referred to in sub-section (1) shall be liable to the punishment of an additional fifty percent to the punishment referred to in that sub-section.
Compensation: (1) If a person is convicted of an offence under this Act, the court may order the offender to provide compensation to the victim in a sum not exceeding two hundred thousand rupees.
(2) If the offender has caused any physical harm or loss to the victim, the court may, one the basis of the nature of such harm or loss, order the offender to provide medical treatment cost or reasonable cost for additional damage or harm to the victim.
(3) If it is not possible to have the amount referred to in sub-section (1) or (2) recovered from the offender at the moment, such amount shall be recovered from the victim relief fund in accordance with the prevailing law, and the amount so recovered shall be recovered from the concerned offender and reimbursed into that fund.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST?
1. File complaint at nearest police office