Bara, November 24
Although the second phase of provincial and parliamentary polls are just around two weeks away, candidates of big parties have yet to visit the Musahar settlement at Birendranagar of Jitpur Simara Sub-metropolitan City, Bara.
Around 100 Musahar families live in the settlement. They work as daily wage earners and crush stones to eke out their living. Their major concern is residence. Voters at the Musahar settlement are taken by surprise as the party candidates have not yet visited their settlement.
Musahar voters say they had voted in the past believing that the candidates would keep their promises. However, this time around, they said they would vote for the candidate who would give a written assurance to resolve their problem. “We will vote the candidate who gives a written commitment to build houses for us,” said Surja Majhi, a local.
Living in the huts for decades, locals lack sustainable source of income. When locals including Baldev Majhi visited late king Birendra 25 years ago, the king had issued a diktat to settle the Musahar on the edge of a forest at Kusmadin. Though they have been living in the same place, now the area has become narrow due to increase in their population. Then, they had just 35 families while they have around 100 families now.
The Musahars are in dire need of land. With shortage of food and clothes, children do not attend classes regularly. “Child marriage, illiteracy, superstitions and lack of basic amenities have made the settlement a hell,” said locals. They ruled that they had believed promises made by election candidates earlier.
A version of this article appears in print on November 25, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.