Monday, November 01, 2004

Ban imposed on Dalits’ mobility

Manoj Shrestha

Rajbiraj, November 1:

People belonging to the so-called upper class have imposed a blockade on the movement of Chamars, a Dalit community of Piprahi in Bisariya VDC of Saptari district, since the last one week for refusing to play Dhol (a musical instrument) during the Dashain festival. “One hundred families from Ward Nos 4, 7 and 8 have been suffering due to the blockade,” Bhola Paswan, a volunteer of the Saraswoti community development forum, told this daily after returning from the site today. Only three families had agreed to play the traditional drum.

Dalits said upper class people, including Tek Narayan Yadav and Ram Sevak Dev, imposed the blockade against them because they refused to carry out the traditional event. A meeting of the upper class people on Kartik 8 had decided that all Dalits should come to play the Dhol, said Jeevan Ram, a victim who is now staying in Rajbiraj. Rambar Ram, Fulak, Jeevan, Buddhi, Lalu, Naini, Laxmi and Parmeshwor Roy have left the village. According to them, Dalits have not been allowed entry into public places. “We need not necessarily follow the rituals pursued by our ancestors. It’s up to us to decide whether or not to play Dhol,” Gopal Sada said. Chief District Officer, Ananda Raj Pokharel, however, said he had no knowledge about the blockade. Eight families, who succeeded to leave the village, said they had informed the Chief District Officer on the matter.

Source: The Himalayan Times, November 1, 2004

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