A nine-year-old boy was beaten black and blue by a neighbouring family on Wednesday in Kunathari of Surkhet district.
The crime: He is a Dalit boy and he had touched utensils in the kitchen of the so-called upper caste family.
The incident while comes as a shock, it also shows how caste-based discrimination is entrenched in society despite the constitution guaranteeing every citizen’s right to equality and laws recognising untouchability as a crime.
Bhim Bahadur BK, son of Jayasara, had entered the kitchen of Batu Shahi after Batu’s son Chakra Bahadur asked him to fetch some utensils. “That enraged Batu’s elder son Bharat, who beat up my son as Batu threw verbal abuse at him,” said Jayasara. “My son has swellings and black and blue marks all over his body.”
Jayasara on Friday filed a complaint at District Police Office. Police have registered a case under Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability Act (Offence and Punishment) 2011.
Jayasara’s husband works in India.
“We are subjected to humiliation almost every day, as we are poor and we belong to ‘low caste’,” said Jayasara. When the incident happened, according to Jayasara, she had gone to collect fodder. “Our neighbour Batu’s son Chakra Bahadur asked my son to fetch some goods from their kitchen. When Batu saw this, she got furious and started abusing my son. Batu’s elder son Bharat then thrashed my boy with a stick,” she said.
She took her son to Mid Western Regional Hospital in Birendranagar, the district headquarters—30 kilometres from her village—on Thursday. “I could not file the complaint on Thursday as I was busy tending my child,” said Jayasara.
The country criminalised caste-based discrimination and untouchability in 2011.
Article 24 (Right against untouchability and discrimination) of the Constitution of Nepal says: “No person shall be subjected to any form of untouchability or discrimination in any private and public places on grounds of his or her origin, caste, tribe, community, profession, occupation or physical condition.”
However, caste-based discrimination is still rife in the country, for the lack of awareness as well as failure on the part of authorities to effectively implement the law.