Water taboo for Rukum Dalits

Rukum, October 12:

For Dalits of a village in Rukum district, new Nepal is no different from old Nepal.

Dalits of Balle in Rungha VDC cannot fetch water from public taps, thanks to a ban imposed by the so-called upper caste. Balle is home to 25 Dalit families.

There’s a public tap near her house, but Sumita BK cannot fetch water from the tap. This pregnant woman has to walk all the way to Chunkhola, a two-kilometre journey from her house, to fetch water.

“We are not allowed to use taps, which have been installed in yards of some Brahmin and Chhetri families,” she said.

Responding to a demand of the Sunar community, the District Development Committee had installed 32 taps in the VDC.

“I took initiatives for the installation of taps in the village, but the taps were installed in yards of Bramhin and Chhetris,” said a Dalit, Thalbir Sunar. “Some high-caste people threatened us after we protested the ban on the use of public taps,” he said.

The upper-caste people have deputed Man Bahadur BK, a Dalit, to guard and take care of the taps and bar Dalits from fetching water.

The upper-caste people do not seem to know that all people have the right to make use of public facilities. According to the law of the land, anyone, who bars others from using public property, faces a fine of Rs 3,000 along with one-year imprisonment.

“Dalits are unable to raise their voices against this injustice out of fear of the upper-caste,” said advocate Nawaraj Gautam.