Thursday, July 12, 2007


In Nepal, politically excluded and socially oppressed communities are raising their voices for proportional representation in the constituent assembly. Dalits, regarded as "untouchables," are demanding state compensation for the lawlessness and torture they endured for centuries. Dalits still cannot gain access to social and political sectors and their rights are limited in black and white terms. They are the poorest of the poor.

Speaking this week, The Nepal Communist Party-Maoists’ Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal urged the Dalit community to organize protests and to push their rightful demands He said now the voices of the Janajatis and Madhesis are are beginning to be heard because they have demonstrated their courage to speak.

Last month a major conference of Nepalese Dalit rejected a government offer to give Dalit 6 percent of the seats in the new Constituent Assembly that will pave the way for a new Constitution. The more than 2,000 Dalit activists and supporters in attendance voted to demand one-fifth of the Assembly seats for Dalit, and to mount a concerted campaign to pressure the government to agree.

The conference concluded that the restoration of democracy has not improved the status of Dalit and that the time has come to exert some political pressure.

A communique from the conference stated: "Though Dalits participated actively in the uprising, they remain curtailed from accessing social, economic, political, administrative and other sectors."

Pointing out that Dalit suffer from landlessness, illiteracy, and technical skills, the conference communique called for Dalit to be afforded "economic protection." It recommended that exploitative labor systems be abolished, that Dalit women be represented in government, and that Dalit school children be given free primary education.

The movement for social justice for Dalits has in the past been hampered by factional fighting. This summer's conference was a monumental move toward unity.

The following short article is from Kantipur Report (Nepal).

Dalits stage sit-in at Mandala

KATHMANDU, July 12 - Dalits have been staging a sit-in protest at Maitighar Mandala putting forth their demands including proportional Dalit representation in the upcoming Constuent Assembly (CA) elections and reallocating the palace for the development and upliftment of the Dalits.

The Dalits, headed by Civil Society have been staging a protest at Mandala since 2 Thursday afternoon.

According to the organizer of the protest program, the protesters were scheduled to sit there for an hour and then move towards the south gate of Singha Durbar chanting their demands and again stage a sit-in at the south gate.

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