Sonaha families living in Daulatpur, Rajapur-1 have pressured the people’s representatives to include them under indigenous/Janajati group.
The Sonaha community earn a living through fishing, boating and gold mining in Karnali River and its vicinity. The people said they have been deprived of government facilities as they are not included in Janajati groups.
“We cast votes for several times demanding leaders to classified us under Janajati group. The agency concerned did not take our demand for ethnic identity seriously,” said Chitra Sonaha, treasurer of the Sonaha Development Society.
The Sonahas said they have no other options than staging demonstrations to press leaders and concerned authority for their demands. The majority of Sonaha males have been working as daily wage earners in Indian cities for a living after the Maoist conflict. “Sonaha people should also get facilities similar to that of freed Kamaiyas (freed bonded labourers). We demand the authority concerned not to restrict fishing in national park areas and gold mining on the river banks,” said Sipu Sonaha, a local woman. Sonaha people said they are worried over their livelihood after the Bardiya National Park restricted them from fishing in Karnali River, citing security of Dolphins and other wild animals. Sonaha people also demanded that the government ensure them free education and employment.
The District Coordination Committee said there are 150 Sonaha families living in Daulatpur, around 40 kilometres west of Gulariya, the district headquarters.