Nepal: More violence sparked by inter-caste marriage

A Dalit family in western Nepal is homeless after their house was burned to the ground. The violence was sparked by anger over an inter-caste marriage, human rights groups say.

Rights groups say Ambara Devi Kuma and her children were asleep when assailants barred the doors, then set the building alight. The family was able to flee, but the two-room house was razed to the ground.

“Me and my children were in a deep sleep, when someone locked the door from outside and set the fire, but I managed to escape with my children,” Ambara Devi said in an interview with human rights defenders from the Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organisation (NNDSWO).

Rights groups say the attack was a product of inter-caste discrimination, and another alarming sign that Nepal has a long way to go to overcome discrimination against Dalits, who were traditionally seen as lower-caste “untouchables”.

A week before the November 16 arson, Ambara Devi’s brother, a Dalit, married a woman from a so-called upper caste. Ambara Devi said the woman’s family was furious with the union. Shortly after the marriage, she claimed, the woman’s relatives threatened to kill her family.

As well, two nights before the arson, Ambara Devi said the woman’s relatives also attacked her husband, who has since gone missing. Ambara Devi has registered a legal case against the alleged perpetrators with local authorities.


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Anita Devi Kuma's home after the arson.
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Date: 15/12/2011





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