Nepal’s most neglected have high hopes of Maoists

, by OneWorld

Nepalgunj: Radha Biswokarma is ecstatic that the former Maoist rebels won a landslide victory in the historic Constituent Assembly (CA) elections held in Nepal on April 10.

“Finally, we will have a lot of Dalits in the government,” said Biswokarma, who, according to the Hindu caste system, is of low caste and known as a Dalit, meaning ‘untouchable’ or ‘outcast’.

Dalits are among the most neglected, socially discriminated and economically deprived of Nepalese communities and have always been under-represented in Nepalese politics and civil administration, analysts say.

According to a 2001 census by Nepal’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Dalits make up about 13% of the country’s 29 million inhabitants. However, some local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) say they make up more than 20% of the population. Read more