Dalit disgrace

Manika Jha in Rajdhani, 11 August

FROM ISSUE #515 (13 AUG 2010 - 19 AUG 2010) | TABLE OF CONTENTS

Janakpur: The people of the Dom community of Hariharpur-3, Dhanusa
district, are prevented from using water sources as they are
considered lower caste. Surprisingly, they are not discriminated
against by non-Dalits but other Dalit communities.

The Chamar and Mushahar communities consider Doms to be lower caste
and have prevented them from accessing water sources in the village.
This has made the life of the Dom community very difficult.

There are two wells here, but Doms are beaten up if they even touch
them, says Surendra Malik, a member of the only remaining Dom
household in the village. Two years ago, there were five Dom
households in the village. Members of two households died due to lack
of water and two households were displaced. The sole household left is
also planning to migrate soon.

Birendra Malik recalls how his father died due to lack of water. "It
is unfortunate that villagers still do not have pity on us," he says.

Dhaneshwari Malik, the eldest member of the family, said she went to
Janakpur and complained to officials about how they were being
deprived of water from the public wells. "Later, officials came to the
village and instructed people from other communities to give us access
to wells," she recalled. Since then, the villagers have started giving
Dhaneshwari two buckets of water every day, for cooking, cleaning,
bathing, and drinking.

Bhola Sada, a member of the Mushahar community, claims that they
cannot allow the Dom community to touch the wells because it
contaminates the place and angers the gods.

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