Dalit man insulted for joining feast for ‘upper-caste’ guestsVarious political parties, their sister organisations and several social organisations deplored the incident and demanded legal action against the guilty.
Police on Sunday arrested two people on charge of perpetrating caste-based discrimination in Kaski district. The duo, who had been absconding since a complaint was filed against them two weeks ago, surrendered to the police on Sunday.
Kaski police detained Ramji Lamichhane, who is also an elected ward member, and Sarita Lamichhane of Machhapuchchhre Rural Municipality-5 for investigation. According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Shrawan Kumar BK, the two surrendered to the District Police Office in Kaski.
Police had earlier arrested two other locals—Santosh Pariyar and Sujan Lamichhane—on the same charges.
On March 9, Narayan Pariyar of Pokhara Metropolitan City-29 went to his ancestral village in Ribhan of Machhapuchchhre Rural Municipality to attend a Bratabandha ceremony. After attending the Bratabandha of the sons of his relative, Santosh Pariyar, Narayan proceeded toward the feast venue.
Sarita, who was deployed in the kitchen, inquired Narayan about his caste. Stating that there was a separate kitchen for the Damai community, to which Narayan belongs, she intercepted him some 20 metres from the kitchen. Narayan stood his ground and entered the kitchen Sarita was manning.
Ramji, who was also in the kitchen when the altercation between Sarita and Narayan took place, toppled the dishes with rice, curry and lentil soup citing that the food was now “impure” since Pariyar had entered the kitchen. Another local named Sujan also chided him for touching the Brahmin’s kitchen, informs Narayan.
“The ward member dumped all the prepared foods when I said there is no caste-based discrimination in modern times,” Narayan said. “Even my Dalit relatives favoured the non-Dalilt and scolded me. I felt so humiliated.”
The episode did not end there.
Santosh telephoned Narayan in the evening that day and forced him to bear financial expenses for all the food destroyed after he entered the kitchen. According to Narayan, Santosh, who is also a Dalit, forced him to bear Rs150,000 spent in managing foods that were destroyed. “He also accused me of insulting his non-Dalit guests and making the entire Bratabandha ceremony of his sons unsuccessful,” said Narayan.
On March 20, Narayan filed a complaint at the District Police Office in Kaski against Santosh, Ramji, Sujan and Sarita on a caste-based discrimination charge. He demanded legal action against the accused and compensation as per Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability (Offence and Punishment) Act 2011. The district police detained Santosh and Sujan on March 26 for investigation. They are still in police custody for investigation.
Various political parties, their sister organisations and several social organisations deplored the incident and demanded legal action against the guilty. Similarly, various ethnic organisations including Mukti Samaj, Nepal Dalit Sangh, Nepali Dalit Mukti Morcha, Dalit Mahila Sangh, Bishwakarman Samaj, Mijar Samaj, Dalit Sanjal Kaski jointly issued a statement on Saturday denouncing the incident. They strongly demanded justice for the victim and action against the perpetrators. The Gandaki chapter of the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) expressed its solidarity with the demands of the social organisations.