Skip to main content

Bonded labour rehabilitation in Nepal: Livelihood, land reform options "ignored" in new draft constitution

By Our Representative
A well-represented Dalit advocacy delegation from Nepal, visiting India to take stock of the type of laws made in the country and how they are being implemented to “safeguard” Dalit rights, has alleged that the new draft Nepalese constitution has “failed” to take a serious view abolition of the dreaded haliya system of bonded labour, prevailing in large parts of the country.
Majority of haliyas are Dalits and are landless. The delegation -- visiting Delhi and Ahmedabad  -- had come to Gujarat in order to gather facts on how to insert outstanding issues relating to Dalits while framing of the new constitution. Several members of the delegation claimed to be close to the committee finalizing details of the Nepalese constitution.
Consisting of members of the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) and a few journalists, the delegates, during an interaction with Gujarat’s voluntary organizations, said, a law banning bonded labour was enacted in 2008. “But there is little progress in removing the haliya system, which requires labourers to hereditary work in bonded condition after they take loan from the landed gentry”, insisted FEDO’s Durga Sob.
“Following the law abolishing bonded labour, haliyas have been provided with plots of land for housing, but they have still not been provided with any alternative means of livelihood or land for farming”, added another FEDO activist Renu Sijapati. The interaction with Gujarat-based NGOs took place at Dalit rights organization Navsarjan Trust’s office in Ahmedabad.
Facts gathered by a recent report on widescale discrimination in the distribution of aid to the victims of the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal on April 25, 2015 said, two of the numerically strong Dalit communities -- Madhesi Dalits and of Musahar Dalits – have 85 to 90 per cent and 95 to 97 per cent no land at their disposal.
The report, titled “Waiting for Justice” – jointly prepared by the Nepalise Dalit Civil Society organizations involved in earthquake reconstruction, Asian Dalit Rights Forum, National Dalit Watch, and the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, India – suggests, it is the haliyas who have been most discriminated against in the rehabilitation of the quake, underway right now.
Most of them have mud houses in some of the remotest areas, hence the aid reached them very late, the report says, adding, the view of the 70 per cent of the respondents was that “although their destruction of mud houses was massive, there was a willful negligence in providing evacuation services to severely-damaged houses of Dalits.”
The delegation suggested, while there is nine per cent Dalit reservation in the government within the 45 per cent slot reservation for vulnerable sections of the Nepalese population, the haliyas have not received any benefit from it either.
“Though bonded labour was abolished in 2008, and on paper the haliya system does not exist anymore, landlords continue employing them at will, as they have no alternative source of living. Lakhs of haliyas are not paid any wages. They are only paid in kind – they are given foodgrains”, said FEDO activist Laxmi Nupani.
“It is not just men who work as bonded labourers in the rural areas of Nepal. The entire family is forced to work as hailya for the landlord’s farms. There have been many cases of haliya women being sexually harassed”, the activists pointed out.
“The extreme form of exploitation led to the formation of the Haliya Mukti Samaj movement, which led to the abolition of the system in 2008. Ever since then, the Nepalese government has been working on schemes to provide land for housing construction to haliyas, which they did not have earlier, the main problem is, they are not being offered any alternative means of livelihood”, they said.
“In the draft constitution, too, there is no provision of providing land to the haliyas, so that they could live a life of dignity. Haliya children do not go school but work on farmland with parents”, a delegate pointed out, suggesting land reforms is not on agenda in Nepal even today.

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

Shah Bano case: Arif Mohd Khan gives clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi, says Modi can't take credit for talaq order

By Our Representative
In an usual defence of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Arif Mohammad Khan, the UP politician who quit the Rajiv Cabinet in 1986 over its stance on the Shah Bano case, has said that he does not "believe that Rajiv Gandhi took the decision to overturn the Supreme Court verdict" on the case "on his own."

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

FIR against Lawyers’ Collective a ‘witch-hunt’ of outspoken human rights defenders

Counterview Desk
In a statement, Ravi Kiran Jain* and Dr V Suresh** of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have said the CBI’s FIR against the Lawyers’ Collective and senior advocate Anand Grover is an undisguised attempt to silence not just the top human rights organization but is also meant to “serve as a lesson to all others who dare to challenge the Central Government.”
Calling the FIR “motivated, vengeful and vituperative act”, PUCL said the Lawyers’ Collective, which has for 38 years of its existence has taken up cases related with domestic violence, human rights, labour and womens’ rights, adding, among the important ones are the “Naz case on rights of the LGBTQ community, the Novartis case, the Sabarimala case, the triple talaaq case and the Sohrabuddin case, in which current Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah was involved.”
Demanding immediate withdrawal of the FIR, PUCL said, “The case lodged against the organization smacks of vendetta for its exceptional …