Respond promptly

The incident involving alleged thrashing of some 40 Mushar families in Saptari is a brazen act of braggadocio by the so-called upper caste people. But surprisingly, cases like this one keep occurring in Nepal. In the aftermath of Dashain, Chamars of Bisaharia VDC in Saptari were barred from having access to even essential services by similar chauvinists who thought they could take the law into their hands. Disgraceful as these acts are, the overall social picture between the so-called high caste lot and those it considers lesser mortals have not always been harmonious. Due to years of suppression at the hands of the self-styled elites, the marginalised are always at the receiving end, even though the State and social organisations have done a great deal to establish harmony between the two. Although the law does not discriminate anyone, the problem refuses to die down partly because the statute that protects the vulnerable communities has not always been implemented.

If the law-enforcement agencies were accused of inaction in the Chamar case, they are once again alleged to have ignored the Dalits’ plea to come to their rescue. If true, this is a height of tardiness on the part of the police. Incidents like this one breed contempt, often triggering communal tension. Without timely State protection, the aggrieved might be forced to take action on their own, something that is illegal but not without severe consequences. Agreed, the caste hierarchy which is now a social phenomenon cannot be done away with overnight like erasing a blotch on the paper. But those who consider themselves as superiors must understand that all people are created equal and every fellow citizen deserves human treatment. All the same, harmony does exist in different communities in various parts of the country. That is achievable only through self-realisation.

In the Koiladi Madhyapura thrashing episode, the police and the district administration must respond promptly to the allegation of inaction. The condition of a few of those who have been batoned is reportedly critical. They are in need of State protection — and treatment. Unless those perpetrating such acts of vandalism are docked, similar incidents cannot be averted in the future. Dalits, despite several constitutional amendments to root out discrimination, continue to be exploited. The strongest catalyst to eliminate such practices is State support, without which, marginalised groups would always be ill-treated by the so-called elites. It is time that those who thought they were superior to others gave a hard look as to how obsolete their notions of superiority are in modern day world. To think that someone is inferior is simply being inhumane. That needs to change.