Two women ostracised for supporting Dalits

Sahadev Karki

Lahan, April 18:

Two Chaudhary women are shunned from their community for supporting the Dalit community in the district of Siraha. Rukmain Chaudhary and Laskhmain Chaudhary of Birnagar, Dhodhona VDC-8, situated five kilometres north of Lahan the headquarters have been banished from their society from the past five months. They had participated in a Dalit movement of offering milk in local temple and had opposed the sanction imposed on one Bishwakarma and 12 Tatma families six months ago after they forcefully entered the temple.

The Chaudhari community with some 150 families treat the two as they do with the other Dalits. The women revealed they had lived in their relatives’ houses after the villagers threatened them of physical actions against them. They said did not tell this incident to anyone because the villagers had threatened to kill them .

Lakshmain said, “My mother-in-law sometimes comes to visit in secret,” adding no one asks of them in the village and they are banned from attending any public functions there.

The two women who used to work as labourers to earn their living are now denied any works making it very difficult for them to live. Rukmain, a mother of three children said that the five katthas of land her family owns is hardly enough for making ends meet. The chairman of the Dalit Jana Kalyan Yuwa Club said that the Chaudhary community and the Dalits there had reached to an agreement that they would not misbehave with each other but the enmity between them is still rampant.

The Chaudhary community has announced that anyone found speaking with the two ostracised women or visiting their houses for any reason would be fined Rs 551, Lakshmain said. She also informed that caste discrimination was rampant in the village. In one case, the guests attending a wedding party refused to have anything because the host of the party had invited a close friend of his who belonged to the Tatma community. “Later five members of the Chaudhary community who had eaten the meal served in the party were fined Rs 551 each.” However, the Dalit club had felicitated them for supporting the Dalit’s cause.

Undettered by the action taken by the community, the two women have expressed their commitment to continue their fight against caste discrimination. Stating that their husbands were supporting their cause, they said they realised the caste discrimination was a social evil after they attended an awareness campaign held there ten months ago.