Updates:

Thank you for your trust and support in this mutual aid effort since we first started it in August 2020. This is to inform you that we are making some adjustments due to recent developments.With your support and the help of local community organizers, Karani Devi Rishidev (wife of late Rajesh Rishidev) started a small enterprise as a vegetable vendor. She is now independently earning an income to take care of her family. Despite the unimaginable loss, Karani Devi is starting to slowly recover from the shock and trauma. Even in pain and the constant threat of upper-caste oppressors, she is speaking out publicly against the caste-system, in programs organized by Dalit community in her locality, and in the media. Though none of her struggles should ever have happened, we look to her incredible strength to continue our collective fight against the caste-system.You can read some of her statements here: https://www.janaaastha.com/archives/17812…After discussing with the Rishidev family and local organizers, we have decided to focus this mutual aid fund towards the 3 other families of late Tribhuwan Ram, Malara Sada and Roshan Ram. These families are still in critical conditions, with the ever present danger of upper-caste oppressors and corrupt justice system. Any future installments will therefore be distributed among these 3 families.We ask you again to keep donating and sharing. With our collective effort, we can surely disrupt the inequalities created by the oppressors. Let us work together towards the complete annihilation of caste!Jai Bhim. Samyukta Dalit Sangarsa Samiti and Haatemalo Collective.https://gofund.me/c46b79b5

Support our ongoing mutual aids.

Mutual Aid for Families of Murdered Dalits
Malara Sada, Rajesh Rishidev, Tribhuwan Ram, Roshan Ram

Malara Sada
Due to the pandemic lockdown, Malara Sada of Saptari lost his daily wage job. After 4 days of having no food to eat, Sada passed away from starvation and exhaustion while working in the fields. Sada’s sons are migrant laborers who have also been severely devastated by the lockdown. Because of the long history of hill brahminical cisgender nationalism, Madheshi Dalits face poverty, landlessness, unemployment, and violence. They face barriers to gaining citizenship and government relief programs, so not a single photo of Malara Sada could be found, nor was it possible for his family to open a bank account. This shows the deep-rooted caste-violence with socio-political and material implications. The abject apathy of the government towards the suffering people continues through the pandemic.

Rajesh Rishidev
On Jul 3, 2020, Rajesh Rishidev of the only Musahar family in Biratnagar-16 Chauthi Tol, was brutally murdered by his neighbors. The local political candidate, Ganga Mandal, had been harassing the Rishidev family for the last 4 years, over the land they had been living on for generations. They also barred Rishidev from establishing bamboo fencing around the small temple for his ancestral deity on this land. Rishidev spoke up in protest, announcing loudly that he would not vote for the Mandals in the upcoming local election. The Mandal family and caste-privileged supporters then entered his house, brutally beat him with iron rods, and hung him by his neck. Rajesh Rishidev passed away on the way to the hospital. Rishidev was the sole breadwinner for his family of 8, who are now facing severe financial struggles all the while living in the neighborhood that murdered him. 

Tribhuwan Ram
After a similar case of land dispute, Tribhuwan Ram of Saptari Metropolitan-3, was found lifeless by the Mutani River on Jul 13, 2020. The caste-privileged groups of his area had already threatened Ram for reporting a gang rape incident 2 years ago. The previous day, Ram had gone to the Rupani Police Station to settle the land dispute he had with Raslal Pal. When the decision was made in Ram’s favor, he was abducted on the way back home. Later that day, Ram’s body was found by the river. From the injuries he had sustained, the police concluded that Ram was murdered. Ram’s family has filed a case against the suspect Raslal Pal and 6 others involved. Ram’s grieving son, Roshan, has since received threats on his life from those involved in the murders.

Roshan Ram
27-year-old Roshan Ram of Siraha Lahan Metropolitan-1, was murdered and found dead near the Bataha River for not being able to pay back NRs. 1000 he had borrowed from Jaykumar Yadav. Ram had been arrested for drug possession and it was in prison that he met Yadav. Roshan’s family managed to get a loan from the village Mahajan moneylender and got him released. However, Yadav came to claim his money and threatened Roshan.  On Jul 11, 2020, Yadav along with Mukesh Katwal kidnapped and murdered him. Roshan Ram is survived by his wife and 5 other family members in extreme poverty and debt.

Though the cases have been filed, Madhesi Dalit victims are often denied justice by governing bodies. Nepal was declared free from caste-based discrimination on June 4, 2006, but almost 14 years since this declaration, people from so-called “lower castes” are still facing gruesome discrimination and are deprived of basic facilities and infrastructures. At least 30 Dalits have been murdered for breaking caste-based norms since 2011, and caste-violence is increasing everyday. It has proven to be an uphill battle to get media attention or public support.

Therefore, in coordination with Samyukta Dalit Sangarsa Samiti (United Dalit Struggle Committee), this mutual aid is created to assist the grieving families to attain justice. This collection is not sufficient but will help the families in whatever way they want to utilize the money. 

Here is more information on the contact persons for the families on the ground who will also reach out to the family with the collected support: 

Sona Khatik
Sona Khatik is a Madhesi Dalit woman activist and also a station manager of community radio in Kapilvastu since 2065. Issues and rights of Madhesi, Dalit women, and girl education are the focus of her radio programs and activism. She continues to raise voices against sexual harassment. Sona ji recently raised funds on behalf of the family of late Angira Pasi.

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Pachu Majhi Musahar Vivek
Pachu ji is the chairperson of BHORE research-based campaign focused philanthropic organization. In his own words, “I have strong passion in bringing the long lasting change in the lives of socially excluded and marginalized population in Nepal. I am from Musahar community of Nepal. I am the only Musahar who have graduated in B.Ed. from Sarlahi district where near 7200 households of Musahar community are residing. As a Social activist, I have actively coordinated and involved and raised the loudly gathering sound for the justice”

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Raj Rajak
In his own words: “I am an Ambedkarite social activist and human rights development professional. For the past 14 years, I have been associated with the Bahujan movement which is working to annihilate caste, patriarchy, gender-based hegemony, advocating for social democracy through the democratization of the existing social system. I am a regular Op-ed contributor to different national print and online media.”

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हत्या गरिएका दलितको परिवारको निमित्त म्युचल एड
मलर सदा, राजेश क्रिृशिदेव, त्रिभुवन राम, रोशन राम । उनीहरुको नाम भन्नुहोस् ।

मलर सदा

कोभिड–१९ को कारण राज्यद्धारा जारी गरिएको बन्दा–बन्दि (लकडाउन)को कारण कञ्चनरुप नगरपालिका, सप्तरिको मलर सदाले ज्यालादारी गुमाए । भोकै बस्न बाध्य भए । चार दिनको भोको पेट उनी साउको खेतमा मजदुरी गर्दै–गर्दा ढले र प्राण त्यागे । मलरको छोराहरु भारतमा मजदुरीको लागि गएका छन् । प्रवासी मजदुरी पनि कोभिड–१९ को कारण प्रभावित भएका छन् । सवर्ण ब्राद्मणवादको कारण मधेशी दलितहरु जातिय प्रणालिगत विभेद, अन्याय, अत्याचार, भूमिहिनता, राज्यविहिनता, अनागरिक, जातिय तथा लैङ्गिक हिँसा, अशिक्षा, बेरोजगार आदिको सिकार हुन बाध्य छन् । भोकवाट प्राण त्यागेका मलर सादाको एउटा फोटो पनि भेटाउन सकेन । यसवाट प्रमाणित हुन्छ मलर सादा लगायत लाखौ दलितहरुको आपविति । नागरिकता नहुँदा बैँकमा खाता समेत खोल्न सकिएन । जातिवादी समाजमा जातिय हिँसा कति गहिरो छ भने कुराको ठोस नजिर मलर सादा भएको छ । कोभिड–१९ प्यान्डेमिकको आडमा श्रखलाबद्ध हत्याको सिलसिलेवार अझै जारि छ ।

राजेश क्रृषिदेव

जुलाइ ३, २०२० मा विराटनगर १६, छौठ टोलको एक्लो मुसहर परिवार राजेश क्रृषिदेवको उनकै छिमेकीले हत्या गरे । स्थानीय विगत चार वर्ष देखि राजेश क्रिृशिदेवको पुख्र्यौली जमिनलाई लिएर स्थानिय राजनैतिक नेता, गँगा मण्डलले राजेशलाई थर्काउँदै आईरहेका थिए । उनीहरुले राजेश क्रृषिदेवलाई उक्त भूमीमा बनेको मन्दिर वरिपरि बाँसको घेरा समेत बनाउन रोके । क्रृषिदेवले अब आउने निर्वाचनमा भोट माग्न आउदा जुत्ताको माला लगाई दिन्छु भन्दै विद्रोह गरे । मण्डलको परिवार र उनका समर्थकहरु क्रृषिदेवको घर भित्र छिरेर, फलमाको छडले राजेश क्रृषिदेवलाई कुट्दै उसैको घरमा झुण्ड्याई दिए । घर परिवार तथा छिमेकीले घर खोली झुण्डिएको ऋषिदेबलाई  उद्धार गरि उपचारको लागि अस्पताल लैजदा बाटोमा मृत्यू भयो । राजेश क्रृषिदेवको घरमा आठजना परिवारको एक्लो कमाउने मान्छे थियो । राजेशको हत्या पछि घरको आर्थिक स्थिति कमजोर भएको छ । कमाउने मान्छेको हत्या हुँदा परिवार विचल्लीमा छन् ।  

त्रिभुवन राम

त्यस्तै भूमिका कारण सप्तरीको शम्भुनाथ नगरपालिका ३ का त्रिभुवन रामको लास जुलाई ३, २०२० मा मुटानी खोलामा भेटियो । दुई वर्ष अघि मात्रै बलत्कार विरुद्ध जाहेरी दिएका रामलाई कथित उच्च जातिवाट धम्की दिएका थिए । एकदिन अघि मात्रै, जग्गाको कुरा मिलाउन राम र रसलाल पाल रुपानी प्रहरी चौकी गएका थिए । जब रामको पक्षमा निर्णय भयो, त्यहि दिन घर फर्कंदा उनको अपहरण भयो । त्यसपछि रामको लास मुटानी खोलामा फेला पर्यो । पुलिसको सनाखत पछि र शरिरमा भेटिएको चोटबाट रामको शंकास्पद हत्या भएको निस्कर्ष निकालियो । रामको परिवारले रसलाल पाल र अरु ६ जना विरुद्ध पुलिस चौकीमा उजुरी दर्ता गरेका छन् । हत्यामा संलग्न भएका समुहहरुले रामको छोरा, रोशनलाई समेत धम्की दिंदै आएका छन् ।  

 रोशन राम

सिराहा लाहान नगरपालिका १ मठियरबाको २७ वर्षिय  रोशन रामको हत्या पछि लास बताहा खोलामा भेटिए । जय कुमार यादवबाट रु एक हजारको सापटी तिर्न नसक्दा उसको हत्या भयो । लागुऔषदको केसमा रामलाई थुनामा थियो । थुनामा हुँदा रामले यादवलाई भेटेको थियो । परिवारले गाऊको साउमहाजनवाट ऋण लिएर रोशनलाई थुना मूक्त गरेको थियो । ११ जुलाइ, २०२० मा मुकेश यादवले अपहरण गरेर रामको हत्या गरे । रोशन रामको पाँच जनाको परिवार छन् । चरम गरिबी, अभावको जीवन जिउन बाध्य छन् । परिवारको ऋणमा डुबेका छन् ।

न्यायको लागि उजुरी दर्ता गराए पनि सवर्ण राज्य सत्तावाट न्याय पाउला भने आश कमै छ । ४ जुन २००६ मा जातिय भेदवावको उन्मुलनको घोषणा केवल कागमा सिमित छ । १४ बर्षको अन्तरालमा हजारौ दलितको हत्या, हिँसा, बलत्कार, जातिय विभेदको शिकार हुँदै आईरहेका छन् । अधारभुत अधिकारवाट बञ्चित हुनु परेका छन् । राज्यविहिनताको जीवन जिउन बाध्य छन् ।

तथापि, संयुक्त दलित संघर्ष समितिको समन्वयमा यो म्युचल ऐडले सामाजिक न्यायतर्फ अग्रसर पिडीत परिवारहरुको पक्षमा एक्यबद्धता दिन यो अभियान संचालन गरिएको छ । यो सानो सहयोगले परिवारलाई आधारभुत जीवनमा महत्वपूर्ण योगदान गर्छ भने विश्वास लिएका छौँ ।

To donate from WITHIN NEPAL:
Please record your donation on this google sheet: NEPAL DONATION SHEET (Important!)

Malara Sada:
Due to being barred from gaining citizenship, the Sada family do not have access
to a bank account.

Rajesh Rishidev
(in process of getting details)

Tribhuvan Ram’s wife:
Ghurni Devi Ram, 
A/C 01301006590999000001
Nepal Bank Limited, Rajbiraj. 

Rosan Ram’s father:
Siphaet Lal Mochi 
A/C 07421600477271000001 
Muktinath Bikas Bank, Lahan

News in reference to the murders:

“Dalits in Nepal amid lockdown” by KIOS Foundation

“The Lockdown is Killing Poor and Marginalized” by Kathmandu Post

Tribhuwan Ram murdered for reporting gang rape by Naya Patrika in Nepali

Report on Tribhuwan Ram’s murder by Madhesh Live in Nepali

Rwoaun Karnali- Mutual Aid for Karnali Arts Centre

There is a harsh reality that the educational curriculum created during the previous centralized government system in Nepal failed to connect any knowledge and learning process of Karnali area. It neither brings the feeling of self belonging among the students nor is useful for lifestyle/people of Karnali. Rather it has neglected the easy experiential based learning process and mechanisms of our language, art, culture, knowledge, skills, science and technology prevailing in our surroundings. Due to these rules of education, new generations are forced to forget their socially powerful art, culture, language, literature, skills and knowledge which may lead to noticeable loss of cultural identity of the community in the long term. The rapid growth in worldwide globalization in the development and knowledge sector and the ways those forms of knowledge are forced upon our psyche and distinct realities without critical reflection is more dangerous to the community like Karnali. As a result, various languages, literature, songs, dances, stories, skill learning process and community developed intelligence systems are slowly losing their significance. 

Rwoaun Karnali / School to school project 

Rwoaun Karnali (knowing the prosperity of Karnali; RK), therefore is the community based project that aspires to renew those cultural practices. RK has been operating in Mugu district of Karnali since 2015 A.D. Initiated by Karnali Art Center (KAC), the main aim of this project is to include the prosperity created by Karnali and Karnali already had (tangible and intangible cultural heritages like language, literature, songs, dances, stories, different skills learning process, intellectual system created in our community) in the school level education process and develop the intimate feeling towards the new generation which will support their livelihood by the means of creative entrepreneurship.

Objectives of the project

To make a sustainable economic status of poor and marginalized communities by creating a regular income source through arts.
To create intergenerational dialogues on the tangible and intangible cultural heritages.
To make school education useful for life by teaching local art, culture and inherited caste skills to students and connect it with economic generation.
To contribute in the mission of Karnali Art Center, Mugu that preserves and promotes  the local art, culture, language, literature along with  tangible and intangible cultural heritage of karnali and making it part of our  livelihood which creates a culturally vibrant community.
To motivate the government teachers realize that by using local art, culture, language, literature and music in daily teaching methods, students will develop the feeling of self belonging in the learning process.

Karnali Arts Centre is a vision. It is an organization that is unraveling and becoming as we speak and write about it. We stand for the right to culture of every individual despite the imaginary lines drawn to create disparities, discriminations, and divisions. Karnali Arts Centre is also an experience. It is a process of learning, documenting, archiving, curating, and sharing the tangible and intangible cultural heritages of the Karnali region into diverse narratives of “experiences” that anyone can have an access to. We want to acknowledge the layers to our experiences – myths, stories, songs, music, movements – and every layer enriches our experiences.

Therefore, in coordination with Karnali Arts Center, we Haatemalo Collective has organized this mutual aid to assist the Rwoaun Karnali initiative to encourage artistic imagination and creativity in Karnali. Though this collection is not sufficient but will help the collective to work on ground differently motivating the Karnali arts to renew their community level practices that are important also for both contemporary and future generations. 

Hira Nepali 

Hira, belongs to a Dalit community is the main visionary and team leader behind the Karnali Arts Center (KAC). For more than a decade, he and his team of Karnali Arts Center has been imagining and practicing different ways to generate possibilities of opening an arts centre in the biggest district but spatially marginalized region Karnali. Therefore, the fund raised from this aid will directly go to his organization supporting the ongoing initiative that requires our never-ending admiration and support. 

His recent interview (in Nepali) 

Karnali Arts Center

Know more about him and his team work

Aid for Indigenous Chepangs suffering violence

Emergency relief fund and mutual aid for Indigenous Chepang families who lost their loved one and their houses burned down by Nepal Army personnel and National Park authorities. This fund will help in three areas-

We aim to transfer the first instalment ASAP! So would highly appreciate your prompt support.

Raj Kumar Chepang, 24, along with six other friends were brutally beaten up by Nepal Army personnel in Chitwan National Park on 16 July 2020. His friends survived the horrific ordeal and still seeking medical attention but Raj Kumar Chepang died a week later. They were collecting ‘ghongi’ (snails), popular among indigenous people of the region, in a stream near Rapti river.  The army personnel approached them and repeatedly punched, kicked, beat with batons for hours. Raj Kumar Chepang was a bread winner of the family and is survived by his wife, Ripu Praja, one and half year old daughter and other family members.

Two days after the beating, houses of Chepang community in Madi, ward number 9, was burned down by Chitwan National Park’s authorities on a different incident. Two houses was burned to ground while other 8 houses were demolished using elephants to forcefully evict them from the settlement they been calling home for years. Foods, documents, clothes and even his only saving of NRs 10,000 (£60 approx) cash was burnt to ashes, says Dan Bahadur Praja, the owner of one of the 2 houses burnt. All 10 families are now in temporarily living in nearby school. 

The death of an indigenous youth and demolition of houses by authorities claiming to protect the National Park is nothing but state sponsored violence and abuse against indigenous people of the region. The irony is, this very Chitwan National Park was established on indigenous land of Chepang and other communities by displacing them, where they are now being abused and assaulted since its formation. The forest which is now a national park used to be primary source for food and resources for Chepang people, and they have vast indigenous knowledge about fauna, flora and herbal medicines. Around 90% of Chepangs are landless, and resettlement programmes by the government has been an utter shamble at its best. 

Although the notion of wild life reserve and protecting environment sounds all good and positive, there has been a huge flaw while creating such conservation areas in Nepal. Not only in Chitwan but in all national parks and conservation area, it has undermined the way of life of indigenous people and their relation to nature. This latest Chepang tragedies are reminders of much needed change about the idea about conservation areas. 

The struggle and fight of indigenous people against state sponsored violence, oppression and marginalisation are ongoing and all indigenous and many non-indigenous people are in solidarity in Nepal and beyond. This funding appeal may not address the core issues but it will definitely help indigenous Chepang people who did nothing wrong but were persecuted anyway for being in a situation they were forced into by the state. So, for now, we are appealing for your kind support to help Chepang families mentioned above for immediate relief and care.

This fund will help in three areas-

1.     Aid for family of late Raj Kumar Chepang- immediate needs like food, clothes, legal help, and whatever needs they could fulfil with the amount collected. 
2.     Medical treatments/needs for six men who managed to survive the brutal thrashing by army personnel.
3.     Emergency needs for displaced family who are now temporarily living in local school.

This funding appeal is facilitated by Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities  (NEFIN) and is set up in coordination with Nepal Chepang Association Chitwan.
Bhim Praja (President) and Indra Jit Praja (Secretary) of Nepal Chepang Association Chitwan, and Rajkumar Bote (Secretary) of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), will be helping on the ground to realise this much needed aid to concerned Chepang family members.

We will be updating any new developments as it happens. 

We shall not publicly post any images of handing out aid, but should you want to know more we would be more than happy to provide documentation privately in your email. 

Many Thanks!

Bhim Praja, Indra Jit Praja, Rajkumar Bote, Jerusha Rai and Subash Thebe Limbu.

image- Rajkumar Bote

Further information and readings- 

How the state continues to dispossess Chepangs , The Record Nepal by Dewan Rai

No country for indigenous Chepang people  by Kumar Yatru-Tamang, Indigenous Voice

Nepal Army personnel blamed for death of Chepang youth , The Kathmandu Post

Why current conservation models are flawed  by Amish Raj Mulmi, The Kathmandu Post

Killed for gathering snails in National Park : indigenous man beaten to death by soldiers, Survival International.

Army claims that it killed two Dalit women and a child in self defense in Bardyia National Park

Covid-19 Mutual Aid For a Dalit Family

From a Musahar Dalit community, a 33 years old Guru recently passed away also due to the Covid. The Dharan hospital was built a few hours away from his community. He was declared dead before reaching that hospital. In addition, his living condition based in the Musahar Dalit community (Siraha) complicated that inaccessibility to the overall health system of Nepal. Decades of privatization resulting in expensive and inaccessible private hospitals and clinics in urban areas have crumbled Nepal’s ‘public’ system disproportionately affecting the likes of Guru Sharan Sada and other Dalit community members. Meanwhile, media report identifying the virus as the main cause of his early death obscures this social and health condition and the larger political condition reinforcing the ideological, historical, and contemporary authority of the Hindu caste system at the expense of Dalit bodies, laborers, and futures. Somewhat similar to what is happening in India, the Covid not only exposes the broken system, but it also kills in Nepal. This time, we have also lost one of our important comrades though his spirit will always move us in our fight to annihilate the caste system. 

Perhaps after a week of the death of Guru Sharan Sada, Chandra Kishore Yadav, a well-known journalist based in Madhesh wrote a long obituary reflecting on Sada’s contribution to the Dalit Musahar community. Though it is an opinion piece, Yadav’s piece is based on Guru’s social activities supporting his Dalit community and his family. Based also on the author’s familiarity and interaction with Guru Sharan Sada, this piece has also highlighted Guru’s commitment to Dalit Musahar’s case of landlessness. Guru was also always critical of Brahmanism and how it continues to negatively impact his community. We, the Haatemalo Collective are also well familiar with his commitment. He was one of the many Dalit active community organizers who participated in our Haatemalo festival that not only amplified the international solidarity of Dalits and Indigenous communities but went onto raise more than $2000 within few hours. We supported other four Dalit families who also lost their dear ones to the Hindu caste system and its violence. For more, please check this link: https://www.facebook.com/HaatemaloCollective/videos/803608800567140/

Although Nepal was declared free from caste-based discrimination on June 4, 2006, almost 14 years since this declaration, people from so-called “lower castes” are still facing gruesome discrimination and are deprived of basic facilities and infrastructures. At least 30 Dalits have been murdered for breaking caste-based norms since 2011, and caste violence is increasing every day. The present pandemic has only exacerbated this form of caste violence. It has proven to be an uphill battle to get media attention or public support.

Therefore, in collaboration with his partner Shanti Saday, we have started this mutual aid with the hope that this support will help her family including Guru’s father and their children. Recently Guru also lost his mother. In addition to the family, Shanti has young children to look after. Your support hence will matter a lot. Please also reach out to us if you know of any sponsors and scholarships that might help her children to pursue primary, secondary, and college education. Our team on the ground will ensure the transfer of money and accountability. Please also find her bank account details below especially for those people who are based in Nepal. We hope that people abroad can use that ‘donate’ link to financially support this initiative.  

Bank Name: NIC ASIA

Account Name: Shanti Saday

A/C: 3035750810191001

Mobile No. 9842846871

eSewa- 9814387928  (eSewa name – Subash Thebe, Haatemalo Collective) please mention ‘Guru Sada’ in remarks section.

Reference

Yadav, Chandra Kishore. 2021. ‘Ti Guru Sharan Sada.’ Kantipur. 

https://ekantipur.com/opinion/2021/04/22/161905870423217.html

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