Castes clash in Panauti

DHULIKHEL: People of a lower caste and the so-called upper caste of the Newar community had a minor scuffle over the issue of providing Feast House to the lower caste in Panauti Friday.

People of the lower caste Khadgi community had gone to make preparation for their feast to be organised at the Feast House in Kathu Ganesh Temple in Panauti on Saturday. However, people of the upper caste Karmacharya, Sonam and Mahajusan refused to allow the Khadgis to organise the feast at the venue. Then, a scuffle ensued. People of both sides sustained minor injuries in the clash.

"People of the so-called upper caste Karmacharya, Sonam and Mahajusan are preventing us from organising a feast in the hut situated in the premises of the temple," Ram Krishna Khadgi, chairman of Khadgi Committee Panauti said, adding, "Though Khadgis are allowed to offer puja in the wooden Ganesh near the Feast House, we are being prevented from organising the feast in the Feast House."

Members of the local administration, Panauti municipality, Khadgi Sewa Samiti and upper castes padlocked the Feast House indefinitely.

The people of the upper castes are preventing Khadgi and Pariyar communities from organising feasts in the venue.

"We had demanded for space in the Feast House for a lunch for guests from France and Spain a few months ago, but we were not allowed to organise the feast there," Khadgi said, adding, "Though we have contributed to the construction of the hut, we are being deprived of hosting feasts."