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Editorial - End Caste-based Discrimination

Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has expressed his strong commitment to take stern action against anybody that discriminates and perpetrates violence and atrocities to others on the ground of caste. In a message on the occasion of the ‘International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination’, the Prime Minister has urged one and all to work for building a society free from discrimination of any kind. The Prime Minister is absolutely right that the country cannot make progress as long as the practice of exploitations and discriminations in the name of tradition, caste system and culture prevail. The caste system and racial discrimination are against the fundamental human rights and national legislations. All people are born equally. A person proves his or her worth and supremacy by ability, merits and qualifications but not because of birth in certain caste and clan. There are certain people who automatically become privileged simply because of their birth. But some people are exploited, discriminated and excluded from opportunities just because they belong to certain caste and clan. So the discrimination on the ground of caste, sex and colour is by no means compatible with the modern democratic principle. One of the reasons why Nepal has lagged far behind in social, economic and cultural advancement is this kind of discrimination. Now Nepal has entered into a new era—an era of federal democratic republic-- with inclusive, participatory and representative political system. In this system, only merit and qualification count. But the people who were denied of rights and opportunities for years and decades may not be able to compete with the people who enjoyed privileges. So Nepal has adopted the policy of inclusive democracy in which all people would get equal representation and opportunities in decision-making and other affairs. Similarly, there has been a quota and reservations system for different ethnic and indigenous people, which aims at ensuring equitable share of all people in all level of political and decision making process and bring hitherto backward and disadvantaged section into the national mainstream. This is the process of creating a just, equitable and inclusive system in which all the people would have equal opportunities and share. Against this background, the commitment of the Prime Minister to take stern action against any kind of exploitation in the name of social and cultural traditions is indeed praiseworthy. The social and cultural exploitation and discrimination in the name of caste must be totally put to an end. source