Activists call for united front to fight for rights of Dalits, Janajatis

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 16:

Prominent Dalit and Janajati leaders today highlighted the need for a united front to fight for the rights of the oppressed people. Addressing an interaction on ‘Problems of Dalits and Our Role’ organised by Jatiya Samata Samaj to mark its 18th establishment day, Dr Om Gurung, general secretary of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous and Nationalities (NEFIN), urged all to go ahead with a concept of a united front. “All the oppressed people are in danger at this critical hour of Emergency, and unity is must to voice their problems,” he said, adding, both Dalits and Janajatis should go jointly on issues of common interest. “Caste discrimination is not the only issue but the major problem they are facing now is the denial of access to the state’s mechanism and resources,” he said.

President of National Dalit Commission, Bhagwat Biswasi, reiterated the commission’s previously announced programme to form a common front to fight against the social evil against Dalits. He requested everyone to join the alliance to bring cultural changes in the nation. Padma Lal Biswokarma of the Dalit Liberation Front said, “There is no use of talking about rights unless democratic environment is restored.” Claiming that no previous government took seriously about Dalit issues, he said Dalit organisations should focus on awareness programmes. “Not only land, Dalits should have access to all the resources of the

nation from which they have been excluded.” Joint-secretary of the Nepal Rastriya Dalit Mukti Sangathan, Raj Kumar Hingmang, said unless all the Dalits were provided with land their problems would not be solved.

Yam Bahadur Kisan of Jana Utthan Pratisthan, KB Gurung of All Nepal Conference For Ethnic People, general secretary of the All Nepal Democratic Youth Association Chiran Pun and Padam Biswokarma of Nepal Free Dalit Student Association also backed the idea of a united

front to fight for the rights of the oppressed groups. Meanwhile, All Nepal Conference For Ethnic People (ANCEP) also marked its 18th establishment day today organising an informal gathering at Anamnagar. Participants stressed for informal interactions among Janajati activists to seek consensus on the way forward.