By Prakash Adhikari, SURKHET:- People from Badi community of Karnali Province have been staging protest in front of the office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers in Karnali Province for nearly 10 days. They have demanded a land for farming.
A total of 440 families from the marginalized and most deprived communities from Surkhet, Dailekh, Kalikot, Jajarkot and Salyan districts came together to launch a collective protest. Protestors came along with infants, toddlers to youth to elderly.
The incumbent government had promised piece of land to the landless squatters. The Badi communities also want to draw the attention of government towards their landlessness.
Badi leader Ramesh wailed, “Protest is not our choice but compulsion. The government does not pay heed to our plea that we will do subsistence farming on the land. Arrange land for us and we will take care of ourselves.”
He is anxious that the provincial government has been apathetic towards their demand. On the top of it, the police administration has been trying to vacate the spot where they have been launching their demonstration.
Another Badi youth Hikmat from Dailekh lamented, “We are compelled to spend our night under the open sky. The demands we have raised are not met.”
Some social organizations have taken care of meal for the protestors. Yet it was not enough to go by, added Jeuri Badi, a mother who has brought her baby along with her in the protest. According to her, if they had been provided a land, they would earn their living by any means.
Parbati Badi of Dailekh ranted that the local authority had suppressed their protest. Security personnel were mobilized to remove them from the protest site. “The number of Badis in Karnali Province is negligible. That is why the provincial government was not taking them seriously,” she opined.
The census of 2011 puts the number of Badi people at around 38,000. They are traditionally involved in fishing, making drums and musical instruments such as madal, sulpa among others and entertaining people by dancing and singing.
Meanwhile, National Human Right Commission has expressed its concern over the deteriorating health condition of the protesting Badis. A team from the Commission recently had made a field visit to the place where protest was being run and observed the protestors’ condition.
Commission’s Nepalgunj Chief Jhankar Bahadur Rawal viewed that the government should be serious about the demands of the marginalized Badi community.
Chief Minister of Karnali Province Mahendra Bahadur Shahi had earlier said the protesting Badis’ demands could not be addressed since the issue does not come under their jurisdiction. It had cast a spell of gloom among the protestors. RSS
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