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Chameli: An icon for Dalit rights

Kathmandu, June 13
Nepal has abolished the caste-based discrimination in laws long back but the thing is not exactly the same what is written in the laws. The people from the Dalit communities have witnessed discrimination in one or the other ways even today. The legal provisions have considered the caste-based discrimination as a punishable crime but the so-called Dalit people are obliged to face discrimination. Laxmi Pariyar of Kavre district had to suffer from the hands of educated people of the society some days ago while Mana Sakri, a people's representative, of Naraharinath Rural Municipality-9 in remote Kalikot district died after an attack from the people of the so-called upper caste people. The case is worse in Tarai too, as the people from the Dalit community are even prevented from using the public wells and taps. Amid such difficult circumstances, Chameli Khati Darji, 34, is a figure from the same community who has been struggling for long against such discrimination, social ills and injustice.
Khati originally from Galkot village in Baglung district also suffered the pangs of the caste-based discrimination but was never nervous in her mission. Currently, she is waging a social movement for the cause of Dalit rights and activism. "Awareness level of offenders needs to be increased, not of the victims. And, the Dalit women should be empowered educationally, economically and politically," she said. Khati shared that she made firm commitment to fight the social injustice that she realized during her schooldays adding that her circle for campaign got enlarged when she joined her college in Prithvi Narayan Campus Pokhara.
Khati, a journalist turned social worker, also organized the Dalit women through her involvement in Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) in Kaski some years ago and also conducted a research on sex workers in the town of Pokhara. "I am the one who experienced discrimination in every step. But, I am not tired. I will remain committed to the cause of Dalit women's rights," Khati said. Lawmaker Durga BK from Kaski district also lauds the activities carried out by Khati for the cause of conflict-hit women and children. BK said, "Chameli is a promising women rights activist. I really praise her courage."
However, Khati is still unsatisfied with the slow social and cultural changes despite rapid political changes that the nation has undergone in the recent years. "But, we have no excuse to quit the mega campaign of social change," the optimistic social campaigner added. (RSS)

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