National

Caste-based discrimination within Dalit community pose huge challenge in fight against casteism

- MOHAN BUDHAAIR, OLANI (KAILALI)

Jan 22, 2019-

The so-called ‘lower-caste Dalits’ of Olani Village in Godavari Municipality, Kailali, cannot use the same water tap or well as that of the ‘upper-caste Dalits’. Separate wells have been constructed for the upper and lower caste Dalits in the village.

Olani is home to a majority of Dalit people who have migrated from the hill districts of Sudurpashchim. But the so-called upper-caste Dalits prohibit the lower-caste Dalits from using the public tap or well.

In June 2018, a Damai family used a well that belonged to a Bishwokarma family. This caused a dispute between the two caste groups as even within the Dalits, Damai is considered to be of a lower social status than the Bishwokarma .

This is only a case in point. Chairman of ward-11 Shiva Bahadur BK said incidents of caste based discrimination take place in the municipality almost every day.

“A Dalit is humiliated and discriminated by another Dalit. How can we fight against caste-based discrimination when the Dalit community itself is entrenched in casteism?” said BK.

Discrimination within a Dalit community runs so deep that Dalits from different social status have separate water sources. Chairman BK said there are separate wells for the 18 Dalit families living in Bangesal settlement alone. Dalit castes like Kami, BK, Luhar, Oda and Sunar claim to be the upper-caste Dalits, and they consider Damai, Nepali, Sarki, Aauji, Dholi, among others, lower-caste Dalits. Badi community, which is at the bottom of the hierarchy, is considered ‘untouchable’ even among the Dalits.

“Though the constitution clearly states that caste-based discrimination is a punishable offence in the country, discrimination still runs deep between the Dalit and non-Dalit people as well as within the Dalit community itself,” said ward member Bimala Serala.

Local representatives in Olani have been settling the incidents of caste-based discrimination.

“We have a big challenge to end caste-based discrimination,” said Chairman BK, “we can only do that by changing our attitude.”

Published: 22-01-2019 09:32

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