. . . . . . "Dalit Solidarity News" is an information project run by the International Dalit Solidarity Network. News stories are extracts from online newsservices. Link to the full story is found at the end of each blog. Visit the International Dalit Solidarity Network at www.idsn.org

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Formed in 2000, the IDSN is a network of international organisations, national solidarity networks and affected country groups, campaigning against caste-based discrimination throughout the world, from the dalits of South Asia to the Osu of Nigeria and the Burakumin of Japan. Visit our website International Dalit Solidarity Network for more information. SUBMIT DALIT NEWS HERE

Wednesday, August 24, 2005  
Maoists rape 25 women in southeast Nepal, newspaper reports

23 August 2005

Maoist rebels raped 25 women in a low-caste community in southeastern Nepal last week, a Nepalese newspaper reported Tuesday.

The English-language Kathmandu Post said nine of the women recounted their rapes Monday to human-rights activists and journalists at a village in Saptari district, about 215 kilometres southeast of the capital.

The newspaper said the Maoists targeted the women of the Dalit, or untouchable, community in the village with the victims ranging in age from 22 to 35.
The newspaper quoted one of the victims as saying: "They first told us to prepare food. After they had eaten, they forcibly carried us inside the houses and perpetrated the heinous act in front of other family members.''

The woman was raped in front of her father and mother-in-law. The Maoists threatened to burn down the Dalit settlement if the residents informed anyone about the incident, leaving the locals terrified, the report said.

Only children, women and the elderly remain in the village as the other residents have left the area a long time ago because of increasing Maoist violence. After the news of the incident spread, the Maoist leadership of the area came to the victims and apologized.
According to the Post, "They prostrated themselves at the victims' feet, begging forgiveness, and also pledged to take action against those involved.''

The Maoists have been waging what they call a people's war since February 1996. The armed insurgency is aimed at setting up a communist republic in Nepal and has claimed more than 12,000 lives.

Link to the article

7:12 AM

Monday, August 22, 2005  
Dalit girl faces discrimination in Orissa village

August 21, 2005

A Dalit girl in Orissa showed some enterprise, becoming the first Dalit girl from her village to make it to college. But she is facing tough times after upper caste people from her village have been opposed to her riding a cycle to college. "The day I heard that I would not be allowed to cycle to college, I cried all night. I didn't even feel like going to college anymore. But my family forced me to attend class. I want to study, but walking around when I have a cycle is very disappointing," said Mamta Naik, Dalit girl.

Mamta's family too is hurt. They want their youngest daughter to go ahead and study to fulfill her dream of being a teacher, wanting her to be independent in every sense of the term."I had asked them how she would walk the long distance to college. But nobody heard my pleas. They said, 'Just as you walk, so will she'. Somebody says we will push you, some others threaten to burn down the house," said Ghanshyam Naik, Mamta's father.

Caste divisions
But the upper caste members of the village are adamant that no Dalit would mount a bicycle."It is our tradition that no Harijan in the village will mount a cycle. It is allowed only when you have business to attend to," said Baikunth Baliar Singh, a villager. But even as Mamta's parents rally in her support, Mamta knows she will have to give up her bicycle. And like many other young underprivileged girls across the country, there will be no wheeling to success easily. It's a long road and Mamta is forced to walk that extra mile.

Link to the article

7:25 AM

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