Freedom a distant dream for haliyas

KALIKOT: Though the government abolished the haliya system several years ago, haliyas in the remote villages of Kalikot continue to work as bonded labourers.

According to Chandraman BK, a Dalit rights activist, 50 per cent of the 30,000 haliyas of the district have been working as Haliyas. “If we don’t work for the landlords, we will have nothing to eat. We want to send our children to school but we don’t have the money,” said Dane BK, a haliya.

Son of a Dalit family is not taught to read and write but instead taught to till the lands. Schools and books remain a distant dream for them. “This kind exploitation should be brought to an end. The government should guarantee them employment,” said Ratna BK, vice-president of Dalit Uplift and Coordination Committee. “If the government introduced employment schemes, the haliya system could be brought to an end,” Kalikot president of Dalit Sewa Sangh, Bale BK, said.

Santite BK of Pankha VDC said that he had to work as a haliya to feed his family of six children and a wife. BK said, “We earn our livelihood by working as haliyas,” BK explained.