What is #DalitlivesMatterNepal?
#DalitLivesMatterNepal is a social movement to create a just society where every Nepali may enjoy life without the fear of being persecuted in the name of caste. It is an initiative designed to counter and fight all forms of caste-based discrimination and untouchability – a collective intervention to ensure every rights of every single Nepali citizen as guaranteed in the Constitution of Nepal. #DalitLivesMatterNepal is a campaign to raise awareness of inequality, discrimination, and atrocities carried out on the basis of caste among all Nepalis and to urge meaningful action against such transgressions. #DalitLivesMatterNepal seeks to connect people so they can work towards building a collective force and to amplify the voices of those affected in order to eradicate inequality, discrimination and caste-based violence. It is a response to fight discrimination and injustice currently facing thousands of Dalits in Nepal.
Nabaraj BK and five of his friends were killed in Rukum West on May 23, 2020. On the very same day, the body of a 13-year-old child, Angira Pasi, was found hanging from a tree in Rupandehi after she was allegedly raped and murdered. These are just two stories of Dalits – those who are systemically marginalized and persecuted every day through contemporary caste hierarchy, the tragic outcome of a centuries-old caste system. And yet, many more stories remain unreported and untold. #DalitLivesMatterNepal is inspired by these untold stories and unheard voices of those who have been vilified and persecuted by Nepali society, state mechanisms, and casteist mindset. #DalitLivesMatterNepal has started dialogues across social media platforms – Volunteers seeking to contribute to the elimination of caste-based discrimination and untouchability in Nepal have joined the group. Prominent public figures, celebrities, and influencers are joining in solidarity with the movement every day. #DalitLivesMatterNepal has garnered the support of people from all walks of life, particularly youth, who hold significant power to change the future for good.
WHY WE STARTED? THE TRIGGER
In 2016, Ajit Mijar was murdered for marrying a girl from so-called upper caste. His body still lies cold at TU Teaching Hospital, waiting for justice. A social science teacher murdered Laxmi Pariyar. Even elected representatives are not safe – Mana Sarki, a ward representative was beaten to death in her home in 2018. The killing of Nabaraj BK, rape and murder of Angira Pasi, the death of Malar Sada and Raju Sada and custodial death of Roshan Bishwakarma, Shambhu Sada and Bijay Chamar are but the reflection of statelessness and oppression of the vulnerable by dominant so-called upper caste and elites. Over and over again, history continues to repeat itself. What ultimately generates such hatred towards a particular community? How does a seemingly innocuous group of people turn into a mob? What does caste truly mean? Dalit girls and women are subjected to the torture and trauma of witchcraft, rape, and murder. Families were enslaved for generations because their ancestors took some money from their landlords. Entire communities are routinely deprived of basic human rights because they are untouchables – at what point does it become too much?
According to the 2011 Census, Dalits make up 13.6 percent of the total population of Nepal. After the three-tier government election, there are 33 Province Assembly Members (7 male, 26 female), 19 members in the House of Representatives (6 male, 13 female), and 7 members in the National Assembly (all male) elected from the Dalit community. There are 797 male ward members, 6,567 female ward members 197 ward Chair, 1 Rural Municipality Chair, 16 Rural Municipality Vice-Chairs, 6 Mayors, and 11 Deputy Mayors elected from the Dalit community across Nepal. This is a tremendous achievement. It asserts strong political representation that holds the requisite power to accelerate the national momentum of the Dalit movement. Despite being disproportionate to the Dalit population, this political representation may serve as catalyst to motivate political leadership towards the liberation of the Dalit community. The new Constitution, signed into law in 2015, gave new hope to Dalits and other marginalized communities of Nepal – an ownership of the state and not just the country. Unfortunately, that did not happen. The faces of discrimination have changed, but they haven’t disappeared. Despite increased Dalit political representation, the Nepali political sphere remains weak when it comes to taking action against the impunity enjoyed by those who both actively and passively contribute to the marginalization of Dalits and other minorities in Nepal.
#DalitLivesMatterNepal is an urgent movement to save lives of Dalits who are discriminated against, dehumanized, raped, and murdered every day in Nepal.
"To safeguard Justice to Dalits and to raise voice against discrimination and violence against Dalits"
“Dalits attain Justice and live without fear of being persecuted”
- End all forms of discrimination and violence based on caste system and create an environment for the Dalits to enjoy their freedom and rights - Dalit proliferation/liberation
2. We demand a collective intervention of Dalits and non-Dalits to end all forms of caste-based discrimination and violence
3. An environment that ensures proportionate representation of Dalits in the state mechanism
4. A society where people will not be judged by their caste