Incident Reports

Banke Dalits discriminated on Shivaratri festival


Lumbini, Banke, Baijanath

On Friday, the Mankhola Shiva Mandir in Chisapani was surrounded by devotees marking the Shivaratri festival. The crowd, however, was composed predominantly of the so-called high-caste people, for the temple has a history of discrimination against the Dalits.

On Friday, too, the Dalits overtly were discriminated against. Like yesteryears, they were barred from offering prayers to Lord Shiva.

Laxmi Sarki, one of the devotees who were on the temple premises, said that she was denied from sitting on a mattress placed outside the temple.

“They did not allow me to help arrange the pooja too,” she said. “I feel utterly humiliated.”

Sarki said she has been humiliated like this for years.

Chandra Sunar, also a Dalit, echoes Sarki. “We are discriminated against whenever there’s a religious function,” she said. “Do the gods and goddesses really classify Dalits from non-Dalits?”

Chair of Baijanath Rural Municipality Ward. 1 Rup Bahadur Malla said that he is leading the fight to end the ostracisation of Dalits at the hands of the so-called high-caste people.

“We are fighting for people from all communities to be included in religious gatherings and social functions,” Malla said. “We are trying to dismantle conservative beliefs that discriminate against the Dalits. But we still have a long way to go.”

Malla said that the Temple Management Committee has decided to include people of all caste and creed in its functions. But the composition of the committee itself is not inclusive. The eleven-member committee does not have a single Dalit member.

However, Chair of the committee Nil Bahadur Chhetri said the committee will soon be reshuffled.

“The new committee will include people of all caste,” he said. “We will listen to all communities for the temple’s conservation and development.”

Mankhola Shiva Temple, spread out over five bighas of land, regularly hosts yagnas and other religious functions, and utilises the collected funds for the temple’s development and conservation.

Details and Impacts
Violent / Non-violent Nonviolent
Primary Form Public humiliation
Primary Cause Related to discrimination against Dalits
Actor 1 - Number of people n/a
Actor 1 - Affiliations Hindu
Actor 1 - Youth na
Actor 2 - Number of people n/a
Actor 2 - Affiliation (Target) Dalit
Actor 2 - Youth na
National/Online Media