Nepal government has remained a mere spectator though a Kathmandu-based daily Sunday made public a news report about a serious human rights violation in Dailekh district. According to the Nayapatrika daily, locals of Jaganath village ward#6 have made Amit B.K. pay a fine of Rs. 60,000 for marrying a Sabita Shahi belonging to so-called high caste community. He was not only forced to pay the fine but was also deprived of his bride.
The neighbors and relatives of Sabita Shahi, the bride, were the ones who beat and tortured Amit BK, the bridegroom. They forcefully snatched Sabita away from Amit and tried to murder the boy, who is now reported missing following his attempt to escape the murder by running down a cliff.
There is no report of any police rescue team reaching the village. However, Prem Bhurtel, a local human rights activist, is trying to afford help for the victims from different mechanisms he is accessible to.
Many similar incidents of human rights violations arising from caste-apartheid deep-rooted in Nepal are reported every year; however, the state of Nepal has done nothing to prevent them. Nepal is a party to most of the international human rights treaties and instruments. Although the Nepali laws clearly say that caste discrimination and racist behavior are punishable, the state has rarely proved its worth in implementation form.
The reported case of Amit BK and Sabita Shahi indicates the violation of their right to marriage and self-decision about their personal life. Similarly, the attempt to murder Amit for marrying a girl of so-called high-caste background shows the threat to his life.
Although Amit and Sabita were married on 01 September and their parents took them home on 12 September when Sabita’s family members, relatives and their supporting neighbors attacked Amit, the information of the incident came quite late because the victims were too terrified to inform the media. Some social workers like Bhurtel took the initiative to disclose it to the media. In Nepal, so-called high-caste people, also belonging to the ruling class, treat Dalits (‘untouchables’ according to ritual belief of Hindu Pundits) like animals. Because of this long-practiced caste discrimination, the Dalits are the most marginalized and excluded community in Nepal. The Dalits are still treated as ‘ritually contaminated community’ and are generally boycotted in villages in the form of discriminated speech and behavior.
Article 1 in the Universal Declaration of human rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. This has been directly violated in the case of Amit and Sabita. The declaration in Article 2 that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set f in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status has also been violated openly. Similarly, the right to life, liberty and security stated in Article 3 has also been trodden upon. Article 5 set against torture and inhuman and cruel treatment has also faced a violation. Thus the incident can be linked to the violation of most of the Article in the declaration.
Now the victims’ family members are reported to have taken shelter away from their permanent settlement.