Dalits seek justice after attack

ITAHARI: A day after a group representing 'upper caste people' attacked the Dalits of Pasawan Tole at Tanmuna-6 and 7 in Sunsari district, the victims today reached Duhabi Bazaar seeking justice.

More than 15 Dalits were injured, some critically, in yesterday's attack. 

"Around 200 persons brandishing swords, khukuris and sticks attacked us indiscriminately," said injured Jug Narayan Pasawan. "Though we had locked ourselves inside our houses in fear of the attack, we were not spared."

Police had reached the incident site long after the attack. No one has been arrested in connection with the incident though.

Dharmadev Paswan, one of the victims, said Jagadish Pasawan, Rekhadevi Pasawan, Chaitu, Chhudar, Ranjit and Khukunidevi Pasawan are among the injured who are undergoing treatment in Itahari and Biratnagar. Among the victims, Jagat has his left ear cut off while his wife Manjudevi has a deep cut on her body. A source said the clash had ensued amid a long dispute over the naming of a chowk.

Citing majority of Pasawans residing in the village, the Dalits had named the chowk as Pasawan Chowk on April 14 and set up a board there with the name emblazoned on it.

But it took a battering from the 'upper caste' people in the neighbourhood. Tunamuna VDC mechanism on July 1 then

wrote to the residents of the tole to remove the board within three days, reasoning that the village in fact had 'upper-caste' people in majority.

"Hardly two hours after the VDC direction to remove the board, we were attacked," said the Dalits.

Age-old tradition of discriminating Dalits is still rife in the country, notwithstanding the interim constitution provision that no one should be discriminated on the basis of cast, 

creed and religion.



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