Nepal: Dalits hope their true numbers will be revealed in census
Dalits in Nepal are hoping their numbers will be accurately reflected in the 2011 census after civil society groups carried out a public education campaign.
Previous figures show that Dalits make up for 13 percent of Nepal’s population. But civil society groups have long claimed this figure is inaccurate. They claim that Dalits may account for more than 20 percent.
The Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO), along with other civil society groups, carried out a one-month campaign to encourage Dalits to take part in the 2011 census, which began June 17. They disseminated posters, pamphlets and flyers containing information about the census and its importance. Volunteers visited Dalit communities to encourage residents to provide accurate information during the census. Volunteers also monitored the census process in communities with a strong Dalit presence.
FEDO said accurate data regarding the percentage of Dalits among Nepal’s population will help the group to push the government to enact policies aimed at assisting Dalits, which have traditionally been a marginalized group.
The results of the census are expected to be made public this fall.
PHOTO: Activists rally for Dalit rights in Kathmandu
Credit: FEDO (Feminist Dalit Organization)