Rastriya Dalit Mukti Jagaran Abhiyan Nepal, a socio-political organisation representing all Dalits in the country, has demanded major political parties' top leaders and Election Commission Nepal's head Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya to ensure respectable and proportional representation in the upcoming local level election slated for May 13.

Dalit people represent 20 per cent of the total population in the country. Submitting the memorandum to major political parties and the EC, Dalit activists demanded that the authorities abide by the constitutional provision of proportional inclusion.

They have asked the concerned authorities to ensure 13 per cent of total local leader representation from the Dalit community.

In line with the memorandum, the representatives of RDMJAN has demanded that Dalits be guaranteed 13 per cent reservation quota, but in a respectable manner.

They have also accused political leaders of not allowing Dalits to compete for higher posts but forcing them to settle for minor posts in the election. "We demand 13 per cent reservation among all the executive positions such as mayor, deputy mayor, municipal chair, municipal deputy chair and ward chairs as per the spirit of the constitution," the first letter of memorandum reads.

Dalit activists have forwarded a total of six demands, including prioritising Dalit women representatives in the upcoming election who had won the 2015 election. Similarly, they have demanded that the families of people who received martyrdom in various social and political revolutions be given priority for representatives of local election, post of local leaders who are involved in caste-based discrimination be scrapped, among others.

"Dalit people's struggle for change and democracy in the country holds a history of over 75 years. However, even in this long period, castebased discrimination is rampant in the country," the memo reads. It has asked political parties and leaders to take the responsibility of ending caste-based discrimination, stopping marginalisation of Dalit community and uplifting the community through reservation.

Dalits are the only backward community that are residing in all seven provinces, 753 local governments and 6,743 wards across the country. The population density of Dalits in Province 1 is 10.1 per cent, 17.2 per cent in Madhes, six per cent in Bagmati, 17.4 per cent in Gandaki, 15.1 per cent in Lumbini, 23.3 per cent in Karnali, and 17.1 per cent in Sudurpaschim.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 18, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.