Give us land, we will vote for you: Kamaiyas

Dang, March 16:

Freed kamaiyas living in Dang district say they will cast votes in the CA polls only if each Kamaiya family gets land. Candidates, who visit the camps of freed kamaiyas and seek votes, get the same answer from the kamaiyas: “Give us land, we will vote for you.”

As the government has not given them land, kamaiyas have been sheltering in public land by erecting temporary camps in various places of Dang district.

Over 50 kamaiya families have been taking shelter in a temporary camp set up in public land near the Ghorahi bazaar, the district headquarters of Dang.

Jung Bahadur Chaudhari, a camp-dweller, said, “We have been living here by capturing the government-owned land. We will cast vote only if each kamaiya gets five kattha of land.”

Over 2,000 freed kamaiyas are living in Dang. Half of them have not got land yet.

“The government can provide land to the freed kamaiyas before the CA polls,” Chaudhari said, adding that freed kamaiyas are not getting land due to the indifference on the part of the government and political parties.

“Rather than the CA polls, we need food, house and shelter first,” another freed kamaiya Gita Chaudhari said, adding, “We must get land first. Fulfilment of basic needs is a more important issue for us than the CA polls.”

Sanid Chaudhari, a school drop-out, said he has been working as a labourer as he could not give continuity to studies for want of money. “What will the CA give us? Rather than assurances, we need land,” Sanid said.

The freed kamaiyas said no one among them will cast votes if their problems are not addressed.

At the same time, they are worried that no one might be there to represent them in the CA.

They criticised the parties for not choosing the freed kamaiyas as their candidates

for the polls.

“We need kamaiyas as candidates to understand our problems but where is such a candidate?” Jung Bahadur said. The Nepali Congress has fielded kamaiya rights activist Dilli Bahadur Chaudhari as a candidate for the CA polls from constituency no. 4 of Dang district.

Dilli said, “The CA should prioritise the problem of the kamaiyas.”