Dom families rendered homeless in Siraha

Siraha, October 3

Dom families residing at Choharba of Naraha Rural Municipality, Siraha, for ages have been left in the lurch after their houses were demolished on Saturday.

According to Bechu Marik’s wife Hariyadevi, they have been homeless after a local Bharatraj Sharma and his goons destroyed the settlement.

“There were no male members at home when he came with hired men and ran a dozer on our houses,” said Bechu, adding they weren’t given prior notice to vacate the land. “As this happened suddenly, we couldn’t salvage anything — no food, no clothes and no utensils,” she rued.

Some 18 families have been stranded now after their houses were demolished. They are now spending their nights in a temporary shelter rigged up by zinc sheets provided by the locals out of pity.

Naraha Rural Municipality Ward No 2 Chair Anisul Miyan informed that the Dom community had been living here for the past 50 years or more. “As far as I know, they have been living here since my father’s time, but recently he (Bharatraj) picked an issue claiming ownership of what we know is a non-registered land plot,” said the ward chairperson.

The locals have accused Sharma of wrongfully evicting the poor community from non-registered land. Sharma, however, claimed that the land belonged to him and said he had every right to vacate his land. “As the land belongs to me and the court has also ruled in my favour, I got the land vacated with the help of police,” he said.

Police, however, have said they had reached the site upon getting information that houses were being demolished. “We had reached the site in time but we could do nothing as it was then learnt that the houses were being demolished as per the court’s order,” said DSP Dipendra Shah of Area Police Office, Mirchaiya.