Lower caste man killed for touching stove

2011-12-13 11:29
Kathmandu - A man reportedly belonging to a low-caste group was beaten to death in Nepal by high caste men for touching their stove, media reports said on Monday.

Manbir Sunar, 30, a Dalit, or low caste member, from Jibutha village in the far-western region, was killed by two men on Saturday after he touched their restaurant's stove while lighting a cigarette, according to Avenues Television.

Officers said they had arrested two men and were investigating.

Nepali society, which is 80% Hindu, still practises a caste-based social system, although laws ban caste discrimination.

"We're living in the 21st century where we're very politically conscious about even the terms we use to denote things," Prakash Chandra Pariyar, a Dalits' rights activist and himself a member of the group, told dpa.

"Nothing can be more barbaric than killing a man for simply touching a stove."

The caste system came to Nepal around 500 BC as Indian Hindus migrated. It divides Hindu Nepali society into four sections, placing the Dalits, or untouchables, at the bottom and the Brahmins, or priests, at the top.

In April, the parliament endorsed a bill against caste discrimination, which laid out punishments for any infringements.

"But incidents like these are an example of oppression and show that the state is still weak in implementing the laws," Pariyar said.

Read more on:    nepal  |  human rights
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