07/07/2017, 15.16
NEPAL
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Nepalese Dalits abandon Hindu faith en masse. They believe in Jesus who will save them

by Christopher Sharma

In Surkhet district tens of thousands humiliated for caste reasons ask to be baptized. The decision was taken during a secret meeting with 200 representatives. Hindu prohibition makes their lives impossible. The fact is symptomatic of a more general phenomenon. In Nepal there is a law against discrimination, but police do not intervene and complaints are never taken into account. 

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Dalits have decided to organize a secret meeting to pray for Jesus to save them. Conversions and renunciations of the Hindu faith are occurring in the Surkhet district of western Nepal. The Dalits are marginalized because of their caste belonging. And they are tired of suffering serious discrimination and threats.

Sanu Nepali, 21, was beaten by some senior caste members on Wednesday, July 5. They accused him of bathing in public drinking water, polluting it physically and above all "spiritually." He ended up in the hospital.

Two months ago, a nine-year-old Dalit boy, Bhim Bahadur, was brutally beaten with perhaps only because he dared to enter the kitchen of a family of a higher caste of his, in the village of Barahatal, in the same district.

It is estimated that about 50,000 Dalits in Surkhet District, who were victims of serious discrimination, have decided to leave the Hindu faith and embrace the message of Christianity. The decision was taken in the meeting with a large number of representatives.

Lal Babu BK, one of the participants said, "We were more than 200. We have come together to convert to Christianity to save ourselves. We have all practiced Hindu faith for generations since it was mandatory, but today the country is secularized and Hindu faith can not save us. Those who torment and who humiliate us are Hindus like us.  By being named untouchables we are judged from the bottom down. We can not even touch lower caste people, can not enter their homes, we can not touch public drinking water and can not have access to public places. So what is this belief? Are we certain in this faith? We concluded 'no' and decided to convert to Christianity. " "We are in danger everywhere," he added, "and we are discriminated at any time, so we ask for the grace of Jesus because we have seen that there is no discrimination in Christianity. We believe that Jesus can protect us." "The decision is made even if we have not yet contacted the Christian priest who can baptize us," concluded Lal Babu BK, "we will do it and we hope the priest will welcome us."

Sudip Pathak, a human rights activist, commented: "People are free to take all necessary protection measures when they are threatened and the state can not protect them."

Binod Pahadi, a Dalit and former parliamentary activist, said: "It is not only the question of the district of Surkhet, but it is symptomatic of the situation in the whole country. There is a law against discrimination and for equality, but in practice there is a strong oppression of low caste people. "

Jayasara, mother of Bhim Bahadur BK, said: "We made this decision from the moment we had no alternatives to save us."

A few months ago, a similar case had occurred in the capital of Kathmandu. Kamala Nepali, a Dalit woman was violently beaten for having touched the water taps in Chandeshwori in Tokha Municipality in Kathmandu. Shanta KC, the woman who beat her has never been punished.

There are legal provisions against such discrimination, but when victims present their complaints, they are not heard.

Police Officer Bhattarai, involved in this case said, "Victims can not produce evidence and we can not punish anyone in the absence of evidence."

However, there are thousands of people who are victims of such aberrations in Nepal.

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