Extreme cold hits Dom community

Rajbiraj, January 1

Kamal Marik, 60, from the Dom settlement of Blehichapena Rural Municipality-5, Saptari, has been taken ill due to severe cold. His family fears that Kamal may not survive this chilly winter.

All poor Dom families in the district have a common concern: how to avoid this season’s biting cold? Kamal’s wife Arhuliya Devi said she was critically ill last year and this year her husband had fallen seriously ill due to extreme cold. “Winter is like death for us,” Arhuliya Devi shared.

Dom Promotion Society, Saptari, Chair Yuktilal Marik said Dom people at Chhinamasta, Banainiya, Fulhara, Matigadhi and Negada were having a tough time due to extreme cold.

Marik said the Dom community was the poorest of all Dalits and that severe cold had also put their livelihood at risk.

Yukti said the elderly and children were the ones worst-hit by cold. Shantidevi Marik of Fulhara said clothes distributed by some organisations would hardly reach the people the charity was meant for. Some clever people take such relief themselves and the poor and helpless are left empty-handed, according to Yukti.

The traditional occupation of the Dom community is pig farming. The open defecation-free zone campaign launched by the government has also resulted in closure of pig farming, thus affecting their livelihood, in the district. Ramratiya Marik of Chhinnamasta said she did not have even an inch of land except her shanty for pig rearing.