Brickbatting leaves 50 Dalits injured

Dipayal, September 17 :

Fifty dalits were injured today when a street mob in Silgadhi, protesting the former’s entry into and worship in the Shaileshwor temple, hurled stones at them. The non-dalit mob claimed that the Federation of Dalits’ Women’s Organisation, Semi-Development Centre (SDC) and NGOs are only pretending to work for the uplift of dalits and instead have been instigating them to enter temples in an organised manner.

The mob also misbehaved with journalists, alleging that they have been taking the dalits’ side in this regard. The forest consumers’ federation office was also ransacked in the process. The fifty dalits injured in the attack included Dharma BK of FEDOW and Adhiraj BC of SDC, said president of the Doti SDC, Keshav Pariyar.

The temple has remained under lock and key for the last four years. It occasionally opens for sometime in the morning. Dalits’ entry into the temple is prohibited.

Non-dalits on September 7 held a rally and chanted slogans against journalists, dalits, NGOs, and political parties following the demand of the dalits that they be allowed into the temple.

After a memorandum was handed over by dalits of six districts in the Far West to the Doti District Administration Office on September 11, Doti chief district officer Baldev Prasad Bhatta had assured them that the temple would be unlocked and opened to them from September 17.

Accordingly, the temple was today opened after consultations among the temple priest, political parties, conflicting parties and local administration. The temple priest personally allowed the dalits into the temple for worship. After the temple was opened, a non-dalit mob went on the rampage in the bazaar and attacked the dalits.

Meanwhile, the Doti and Achham chapters of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, in a statement, condemned the ill-treatment of THT scribes Min Bam and Tekendra Deuba. Doti FNJ chairman Uddhav Dhant demanded a probe .

FEDOW coordinator Amrit Biswokarma said the issue should not be linked to politics, traditions and culture. Bhatta said he published a notice on consensus and action would be taken against anyone not abiding by it. The police have provided security to the priest.