Leaders have stressed the need to run a social campaign in a bid to end discrimination against the Dalit community.

Speaking at an event organised by Sushma Koirala Memorial Foundation yesterday, they emphasised the need to build an atmosphere of social goodwill among people of all ethnicities.

Social campaigner Durga Sob said, "The way the sitting minister is supporting the person in custody on the charge of discrimination, is condemnable." "Such an act gives the message that powerful people can do whatever they like," she said. Advocate Prakash Nepali emphasised the need to implement legislations to address the problems facing the Dalit community.

"The state should work towards establishing social justice", he said.

According to information shared at the programme, the 2011 census shows that Dalits comprise 13.8 per cent of the population. However, 42 per cent of the Dalits are poor. The representation of the Dalit community in Nepal Police is nine per cent and only one per cent in the judicial sector.

The literacy rate of the Dalit community is 52.4 per cent. Only 45.5 per cent of Dalit women are literate.

Among the Dalits, 44 per cent in Tarai and 15 per cent in hills are landless. Foundation Member-secretary Atul Koirala said the concept of social engineering should be adopted to end discrimination and untouchability against the Dalits.

Prof Rajendra Koirala said the latest incident of castebased discrimination showed that the political leadership still carried the notion of untouchability.

Likewise, Prof Baburam Timsina called for comprehensive study of the term Dalit to explore whether it is a destiny, tendency, ethnicity, religion or a social discrimination.

Social campaigner Nawaraj Adhikari called for a campaign to end caste-based discrimination in the country.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 28 2021, of The Himalayan Times.