National

Musahar families denied access to water after an intercaste marriage dispute

- BINU TIMSINA, BIRATNAGAR

May 16, 2019-

In what could be a case of caste discrimination and aversion to intercaste marriage, the family and relatives of Sani Rishidev of Sakhma Tol in Budhiganga Rural Municipality-2, Morang, have been barred from using a water source in their own settlement. This comes as a punishment for Sani marrying a girl from an upper-caste family.

According to locals, Sani and Sirjana Thapa Magar, who were in a romantic relationship, eloped on April 1 and have been out of contact since. After the elopement, a dispute ensued between the families of Rishidev and Thapa Magar.

Since the episode, the Rishidevs have been cut off from their water source after the Thapa Magar families uprooted the only tube well in their settlement. There are 10 Rishidev families living in the settlement and all of them are living without any access to water at present.

The Rishidevs are currently getting water from a tube well in another settlement, but the locals of that settlement have also begun to voice their dissatisfaction over the Rishidevs using their water source.

Khakari Rishidev, a resident of Sakhma Tol, said that although the police and the local administration have taken stock of their case, they are not taking the matter seriously. .

“We have been facing difficulties for more than one month now. They have uprooted our only water source. I have filed a police complaint but nothing has been done yet,” Khakari said. Rebati Narayan Chaudhary, ward chairman of Budhiganga-2, said that the Rishidevs are growing weary of the Thapa Magars after facing threats from the latter.

 “The Rishidev families were beaten time and again by the Thapa Magars. This is a gross violation of human rights,” Chaudhary said.

However, Dhirendra Thapa, a relative of Srijana, denied the allegation that his clan was involved in any form of caste discrimination.

“We removed the tube well because it was on our land. We want to be able to use our land as we see fit,” Dhirendra said.

The Thapa Magars claim that Sani trafficked Srijana out of the country. They has also filed a complaint at the DPO to search for their missing daughter.

“Sani and Srijana are both under 18 so their marriage does not have legal approval,” said Superin-tendent of Police Manoj KC.

In a recent development over the last couple of days, the District Police Office in Morang has directed the Area Police Office in Nemuwa to help the Rishidevs instal a tube well in the Musahar settlement. Superintendent of Police Manoj KC said that it is a crime to prohibit anyone from using water from a water source.

Published: 16-05-2019 07:47

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