Pushkar Thapa

DAILEKH: The UML-led coalition has been all for an inclusiveness.
In a bid to do away with the caste-based discrimination, it had declared to provide Rs 1 lakh to a couple for an inter-caste marriage. But, the government’s announcement is only a paper tiger, which is umpteenth times removed from the grim reality.
Take the case of Upendra BK and Mina Khadka, residents of Naulekatuwal VDC-9 and 8, respectively. The duo fell in love, and got married on November 28. And, now they are in a soup. They have not only been driven out of their village but also received death threat from locals, belonging to the upper caste.
Scared, they have taken refuge in the district headquarters.
Mina maintained that the government scheme encouraged them to tie the nuptial knot. But, trouble started on the very day of the wedding. They were forced to run away to Nepalgunj to escape their tormentors.
“But, those who opposed our marriage tracked us down at the hotel in Nepalgunj. They issued death threat,” alleged Upendra.
Mina echoed her husband. “My relatives and neighbours turned against us,” she complained.
So, what’s the fuss all about? Mina is a Chhetri, which is only next to the Brahmins as per the Hindu caste divisions. While, Upendra is a Dalit, and, brings out the rear in the caste hierarchy. Prem Bhurtel, a Dalit rights activist, supported the couple, speaking out against caste-based discrimination. He also demanded legal action against all those who are harassing the newly-wed.
Earlier, in a similar incident, a Dalit youth, who had married an upper-caste girl, had to cough up Rs 60,000 for the ‘breach in social order’.
Narayan Shrestha, assistant CDO, Dailekh, feigned ignorance about the incident. He, however, promised to take stern action if complaints were filed by the aggrieved.
“The authorities are yet to send the funds, earmarked for distribution to inter-caste couples,” he added. DSP Rajendra Singh Khadka pledged to punish the culprits. He is awaiting the victims to file the complaint.