Indigenous Chepang people's houses burnt down in Chitwan

Monday 20 July, 2020   |   Law and Human Rights

Print This   |   Font Size + -

Admin

Admin

indigenousvoice

Indigenous Chepang people's houses burnt down in Chitwan

In a textbook example of how authorities displace indigenous people from their homeland, the Chitwan National Park (CNP) has demolished the houses of poor Chepang families saying they had encroached upon government land. The CNP authorities set fire to Chepang people's thatched houses. They also used a horde of elephants to chase them away.

Around 60 Chepang families living in Madi municipality-9 of Chitwan were already affected by the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they have lost their homes, and they do not have shelter at a time when monsoon rains are pouring across the country.

Chepang people had been allowed by the local government to build their huts in Kusum Khola area of Madi municipality. On Saturday, a team led by the CNP warden reached there and burnt down Chepang's houses without listening to their cry for help.

According to local journalist Govinda Neupane, Chepang people had been allowed by the local government to build their huts in Kusum Khola area of Madi municipality. They had come there after their houses were destroyed by flood and landslide. On Saturday, a team led by the CNP warden reached there and burnt down Chepang's houses without listening to their cry for help.

Placed at the bottom of Human Development Index (HDI), Chepang people suffer from poverty, lack of access to government services and illiteracy. Most Chepang people hail from the hills of Makawanpur and Gorkha district. Those living in Madi had reached there after being displaced by natural disasters in Makwanpur.

Govinda Chepang, former Member of Constituent Assembly (CA), says the CNP set fire to Chepang's houses to drive them away from the land deemed to be part of the conservation area.

Madi municipality's Mayor Thakur Prasad Dhakal has condemned the CNP's act of setting fire to Chepang's houses. In a press statement, Dhakal has criticized the CNP for singling out the most vulnerable community.

Madi is in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park, and there has been long-running tension between the CNP administration and local people. Especially indigenous people have been a soft target for the CNP.

Dhakal has also said that the CNP destroyed Chepang's houses without coordinating with the municipal office at a time when plans were being drawn to manage Chepang's habitat. In Kusumkhola, the municipal office is building houses for landless squatters including Chepang people. But Dhakal also added that the municipality's plan of building houses for landless people has been obstructed by the CNP.

Madi is in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park, and there has been long-running tension between the CNP administration and local people. Especially indigenous people have been a soft target for the CNP. Recently, Bote people, another marginalized indigenous community, had lost their livelihood after the CNP administration stopped them from collecting fish from local river and rivulets.

Indigenous rights activists say the CNP has always targeted indigenous communities living around the protected area because they are voiceless and helpless. Jagat Baran, Chairperson of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) has condemned the CNP's attack on Chepang people.


Conversations
Total Comments:

Related Posts

Books

  • UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (IN VARIOUS INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE)

    UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (IN VARIOUS INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE)

    Read More
  • परम्परागत संस्थाः एक अध्ययन (नेवार, थकाली, माझी, धिमाल, थारु, ह्योल्मो, ज्यापू र मगर)

    परम्परागत संस्थाः एक अध्ययन (नेवार, थकाली, माझी, धिमाल, थारु, ह्योल्मो, ज्यापू र मगर)

    Read More

Helping Hands

Like us on Facebook