Dalit tenants, landlords face rental woes

BAJHANG: People belonging to the Dalit castes, who have been living in Bajhang district headquarters Chainpur, have said they are facing problem finding rooms to rent.

So much so, the Dalit house owners here have also to look for members of their caste as tenants after people belonging to the so-called “upper caste” simply do not want to rent their rooms.

“When we enquire, the landlords say that the rooms are vacant. But, when we tell our castes after they ask, they avoid us simply saying the rooms have been booked already,” said Shyam Sundar, district representative of National Dalit Network, an organisation working for the welfare of the Dalits.

He said that he himself had been living in the house of a Dalit landlord as he could not find rooms in the houses of non-Dalits. “Had there not been the houses of dalits in the district headquarters, we would have stayed in open or in tents,” he added.

According to Gajendra Sarki, the non-Dalits also do not come in Dalit’s houses for rent.

“Even if some employees stay in rent in the houses of Dalits, they leave the rooms after one or two months after knowing that they are living in the dalit’s house,” said Sarki, who owns a concrete building in Chainpur, adding that only the dalits tenants have been living in his house.

President of Dalit Women Organisation Aasha BK, who has been residing in the house of a non-Dalit in Chainpur’s Adalat Road for three months, said she was thinking of shifting room due to discrimination of the landlord.

“I ‘m facing many problems from going to toilet to fetching the water,” she said.

The untouchable system is also prevalent in the hotels and lodges. For Dalit people, some hotels have even managed separate rooms.

The Dalit government employees also reveal that they feel discriminated even in their work places.