What is #DalitLivesMatter?
Dalit Lives Matter (DLM) is a social movement led by Dalit Lives Matter Global Alliance (DLMGA) to build constructive resistance against caste-based inequalities, indignities, and adversities globally. DLM aspires to build a global alliance of informed and empowered civic actors equipped with knowledge, skills, and tools to counter and fight caste-based discrimination and untouchability.
DLMGA, based in Kathmandu, Nepal, serves as the secretariat of the global Dalit Lives Matter Movement.
Recently, a Dalit youth aged 20 was found hanging in a prison toilet. He was a minor, 17 years and three months when he was arrested on charges of mobile theft. Suspiciously, his identity was swapped with another convict charged with extortion and illegal arms possession. Why was he not sent to a juvenile correction center and imprisoned with adults?
In 2020, six youth were brutally killed by a village mob who despised the inter-caste relationship between a young Dalit boy and an upper-caste girl. The same year a 13-year-old girl was found hanging in a tree. A day earlier, community leaders decided to marry her to an upper-caste man who allegedly raped her.
Mana Sarki was beaten to death in 2018. She was an elected representative from her ward. In 2016, Ajit Mijar was murdered for marrying a girl from the upper caste. His body still lies cold at TU Teaching Hospital, waiting for justice. Laxmi Pariyar, accused of witchcraft, was tied to a pole and fed human feces. Four days later, she was found dead in her home.
The list is endless. Yet, much more violations are not reported, and stories remain untold.
The government statistics show that 202 caste-based discrimination and untouchability cases have been registered since the Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability (Offence and Punishment Act) 2011 was enacted. However, the court decided guilty verdicts in 91 cases. The district court acquitted 88 cases, and 23 cases are awaiting a verdict.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics 2011, Dalits comprise 13.6% of the total population in Nepal. The poverty rate in Dalits is 48%, and their Literacy Rate is 40%. Alarmingly, 60% of Dalit children are exposed to chronic childhood malnutrition. In Nepal, there are 22 sub-groups of Dalits.
Globally, the Dalit population is estimated to be about 250 million. India has close to 201 million Dalit population, followed by Bangladesh at 5.5 million and Sri Lanka at 4.5 million. Pakistan has about 0.33 million Dalit population. This shows that the Dalits are concentrated in the South Asian region, but with globalization and migration, Dalits and their issues have spread to the global south as well.
AREAS OF WORK
1. Human Rights and Justice 2. Political and Socio-economic Rights
3. Creating Next-Generation Leaders 4. Building a stronger Dalit Movement in Nepal and globally
Dalit Lives Matter Global Alliance (DLMGA) envisions a (free) world where everyone enjoys a dignified life.
DLMGA’s mission is to create a global alliance and strengthen the Dalit movement globally.
To counter and fight back against all forms of discrimination and untouchability through non-violence means
To document and disseminate lived experiences of caste-based inequalities and indignities
To create a cadre of youth leaders - both Dalit and non-Dalit, equipped with knowledge and skills to resist/counter caste-based discrimination and untouchability
To develop frameworks for policy actions that promote inclusive and proportionate representation and participation
To expand knowledge exchange platforms through networks beyond boundaries