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Post-marriage Violence against Dalit Women Up

Dalit women are increasingly becoming victims of different forms of social violence after they inter into inter-caste marriages, Dalit women said on Tuesday. In an interaction organised by the Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO), Radha Dhakal Sunar of Surkhet said she had a love marriage with Bimal Rana Magar in 2006. Her mother-in-law kicked her and her husband out of the house after seven days of their marriage. They didn't have shelter and food, she narrated. Subsequently, her husband went to India to look for jobs. However, as he was uneducated and unskilled, her husband's hands don't work now after he got an electric shock while working in India. Currently, Sunar is in Kathmandu while her husband is in India. Sunar's husband had asked his brother to take Sunar to India. However, the brother has not accepted Sunar as his sister-in-law and refused to obey his brother. "What can I do in such a situation?" Sunar, who has two children, said. Other Dalit women shared similar experiences at the programme. Kamala Pariyar of Chitwan also had a love marriage with Shree Ram Lamichane in 2008. As soon as they got married, Lamichane's family members kicked the newly-wed couple out of the house saying Pariyar belonged to an "untouchable" social group. Pariyar, her husband and their son are now living in her maternal home. According to Durga Sob, president of FEDO, Dalit women have become victims of social violence after they engaged in inter-caste marriages. They have been tortured and often kicked out of the house. Sob further said different laws have been formulated to promote inter-caste marriage, but they have failed to ensure Dalit women's rights. "We want effective laws from the government," Sob added. At the programme, Home Minister Bhim Bahadur Rawal committed to bring in effective laws. "Laws are not enough to end this kind of gender-based violence. What we need is social awareness. Women are suffering from violence due to social stigma in the name of tradition and social values and norms."