Leaders lauded dalit empowerment

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 7

Oppressed and disadvantaged groups such as dalits should be empowered to overcome social injustice and discrimination. Strengthening the National Dalit Commission (NDC) is one of the better options, leaders here recommended today.

“Formation of dalit commission alone is not enough. Special focus should be on empowering them,” said Pashupati Sumsher JB Rana, general secretary of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) inaugurating a four-day workshop on ‘Role of Dalit people’s representatives in effective implementation of decentralisation and good governance’ organised by Jana Utthan Pratisthan here on Tuesday.

“Ordinary intervention will not work, there should be nothing less than reservation. If the government does not respond now when will it?” said Rana highlighting devolution as one of the necessities.

“The government has to uplift the oppressed groups. However, traditional mindset of the leaders has hindered such social groups in coming up. Even chief district officers and civil servants suffer from feudalistic mentality,” said Ramprit Paswan deputy chairman of the National Assembly.

“From political parties to elsewhere, be it geographical, institutional or political, there’s discrimination everywhere,” Paswan further said adding, “That is why there should be reservation to enhance representation of communities and regions.”

“In lack of political initiation there’s problem to mainstream the oppressed and disadvantaged groups. That’s why plenty of discrimination exists in the society, which the extremists are exploiting in the name of so-called people’s war,” said Jhalanath Khanal, CPN-UML standing committee member. “Until the political leadership takes initiative, thousand-year-old problem will persist.”

“Democracy is not just about speeches and public meetings, it’s also about justice and equal rights,” said MP Pari Thapa of National People’s Front. “Backward and oppressed groups such as dalits, women and indigenous groups should be brought to the mainstream. That is good governance.”

Saying there’s lack of representation of backwards groups at the national level, Durga Sob, member secretary of NDC, said, “Dalits should rise from the local level. For that, they should be empowered right from the local level.”

“Everybody is and should be treated equal. That is why the prevalent discrimination should end,” said Indira Rana, member of the National Human Rights Commission.

“Dalits should take things in their own hands and fight for their rights,” said Ram Man Shah of Nepal Sadbhawana Party. He also said the society, by and large, is unaware of the problems faced by the disadvantaged groups, including those of the terai.