For the mothers of those killed in the Rukum West massacre, Nabaraj BK, and his friends, social justice has died in Nepal. They lament – ‘only tears and hope remain.’ It is also the same with the mothers of Angira Pasi, Sundar Harijan, and Bijaya Ram Chamar – all killed by the never-ending caste violence.
I see our society becoming increasingly regressive and moving backward from the social justice perspective. We have yet to work towards an inclusive Nepal we have always imagined.
The political parties have failed to reflect the constitutional spirit of social justice and the principle of proportional inclusion into reality. If they had, the House of Representatives would have found 37 or 38 members based on the Dalit population, which is 13.8 percent. Sadly, the House only has 16 Dalit members – and only one member is directly elected under First-Past-The-Post and the rest under Proportional Representation.
The general election 2022 results prove that political parties do not abide by the principles of proportional inclusion and social justice. Nepali Congress, with an image of the ‘most democratic’ political party, did not field a single Dalit candidate for direct elections. With 332 constituencies allocated for the provincial parliaments and 165 constituencies for the federal parliament, if one of the largest political parties fields only one Dalit candidate for direct elections, how can we claim to have social justice in Nepal?
The Nepali state does not reflect the variegated rainbow of diversity. Dalits love their country, and the country belongs to Dalits too. However, the Nepali state has failed to belong to Dalits – it has not yet become ours.
The legal frameworks guarantee women’s proportional representation to 33 percent. However, the election laws prioritize the Khas-Arya group as the first cluster for proportional representation and with the largest percentage share.
Who needs social justice the most in Nepal right now – the Khas-Arya, or other groups? What are the parameters that define the need for social justice?
We hear many claiming that reservation opportunities snatched their opportunities. But why don’t they understand that only 45 percent of the civil service is reserved for women, Dalits, and other inclusion groups? And, 9 percent of the 45 percent has been reserved for Dalits – which comes out to only 4.5 percent of the total reservations. However, 55 percent of all positions in the state are available for open competition.
The National Inclusion Commission recently published a report suggesting that reservations will not be necessary after ten years. However, with the present situation, it will take at least another hundred years or so before the Nepali state mechanism reflects the true ethnic and caste diversity of Nepal.
Founder | Founder of Dalit Lives Matter Global Alliance
Pradip Pariyar is the Founder of Dalit Lives Matter Global Alliance (DLMGA) and currently leads the #DalitLivesMatter movement. World Economic Forum has selected Mr. Pariyar as one of the Young Global Leaders in its Class of 2020.