TARANGA, SURKHET DISTRICT- Twelve Dalit families, residing in the Surkhet District of Taranga-5, were forced to leave when Khadga Bdr. Sunar, a Dalit, married his non-Dalit lover Jaisara Baduwal. Jaisara had been allegedly beaten by her relatives and other villagers when the couple tried to reach back the village. The marriage was not known to the bride’s family and their anger towards her have erupted into violence in this quiet village. Eighteen year old sister of the boy, Setukala BK, was held captive by the Baduwals after the incident and another fifteen year old sister Krishna Kala BK’s whereabouts is still unknown, and speculations have risen that she has been kidnapped by the bride’s relatives.
Although they have been married only for two weeks, the couple fled from the village to district headquarter Surkhet on 30 June 2008, when they found out that the girl’s relatives are preparing for an attack. They returned to the village on Saturday hearing that actions will not be taken upon them and the issue will be managed. However, Jaisara was not fully comfortable concerning her family’s reaction to her marriage. So she went alone to the village without her husband. When she reached the village, she was thrashed by her relatives and sustained serious injuries.
Since, activists from Birendranagar have traveled with the couple to the village. This proved no help, as the villagers still swarmed upon the girl. The activists, despite pleading with the villagers, had their cameras and mobile phones snatched from them. Hiralal Sunar, the district representative of Jagaran Media Center, and an eye witness to the violence, said the beatings were minor compared to what the couple received. Dhan Bahadur Rokaya , a local teacher, was also beaten when he tried to advise the villagers. Now the girl is also in the hands of her parents. The boy went into the hiding saving his life from the irate villagers.
The boy’s family moved to the district headquarters Birendranagar for security reasons after the Baduwal family threatened them with dire consequences.
“We had no option but to move to Birendranagar after my son married a non Dalit girl”, he said. “We are taking shelter in the open. We need security”, his father Jhupe Sunar said.
“We moved to a cowshed in the upper part of the village on 1 July, a day after the marriage”, said the father, adding that they fled to the district headquarters after feeling insecure in the village.
Jhupe urged all concerned to take initiatives to create an environment conducive for his return to the village.
The entire village is reportedly divided into two factions, Dalits and non Dalits, after the intercaste marriage. Surkhet Chief District Officer Baldev Bhatta said he had heard about the incident and had directed authorities to maintain law and order in the village.
When the non Dalits of the village threatened the lives of the Dalits of the place, twelve Dalit families had to leave the village. The displaced families have taken shelter in their relatives’ homes in the nearby villages. Various Dalit and human rights organizations organized a mass rally and submitted a memorandum to Surkhet District Administration Office, demanding security resettling the displaced Dalit families, and punishment to the guilty.