Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Freed



DOTI - A dalit family was beaten and evicted from their village after refusing to remain as haliyas. A haliya is a kind of bonded agricultural labourer, usually from a low caste. Despite a movement against this custom, this is the first incident where a family has been brutally treated and thrown out of the village. Narayan Singh Bista, the chief of Durgamadau VDC, and his brother Thagi Bista beat 75-year-old Laxi Kami, her sons and her husband when they refused to work as haliyas. Their family has worked under the haliya system with the Bistas for generations. Laxi spent her whole life working for the village chief but when she got old and weak, the Bistas asked her son Bhagi to replace his mother. Unlike his mother, Bhagi could not endure the treatment and quit because he felt exploited and was underpaid. "After I left, they threatened and harassed me," says Bhagi. Last week, during the Maghe Sankranti festival, the Bistas arrived at the Kami's hut with 10 other people and beat up the whole family.
It is estimated that there are more than 100,000 landless haliya families in the far-west hill districts of Nepal. "Besides being social outcasts, the dalits have always been poor. This is why our community has been forced to work under the haliya system," says dalit leader Kumar Singh Tailor. Dalits makes up 22 percent of the haliyas in the country.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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