Election officials along with various local representatives and security officers outside the newly-set up election office in Jaleshwor Municipality, Mahottari, on Thursday.
JALESHWOR: Political party leaders have started reaching the Musahar settlements in the district now, some of them in a gap of five years, as the date for the local level election approaches. The local election is taking place on May 13.
The party leaders are visiting the Khairagaon at Jaleshwor Municipality-3, a settlement of the Musahar community.
The Musahars are the dalit caste people who are socially and economically backward. In the last local level election in 2017, the leaders had made tall promises to this community that they would implement over a dozen projects for improving their living standard and social development as well as physical development in their settlements. But they had not set their foot after winning the election.
Amrit Sada, a community leader, said the leaders of various political parties have started making a beeline to their settlement now and the Musahars have to remain awake till 1 to 2 am every day. “In every election I vote for the party candidates with the hope of getting the land-ownership certificate, but none of the leader has so far facilitated in making the certificates,” lamented Sada.
Sixty-year-old Musaha Tetari Sada complains that the leaders, once they get elected, seem to forget the Musahars. She said they even don’t want to meet them when they go their offices with their demands. “They did not come to our village to help us when we called them at times of disaster and difficulty. They would not even receive our phone calls,” Tetari said, adding that the same leaders have started making frequent visits to the settlement to entice the voters again.
Like in the past election, this time also they have started making speeches, selling slogans of development and solving their problems, said 70-year-old Siliya Sada. There are around 90 Musahar households at Khairagaon. They lack toilets and drinking water. There is only one tube well (hand pump) for the entire village and one toilet for every eight to ten houses.
“The pit latrines fill up one or two months and the villagers have no choice but to defecate in the open,” said 45-year-old Sukamaria Sada. According to her, although they have voted the leaders in every election going after their assurances of bringing development to their settlement and improving their living conditions, their demand of drinking water, construction of drain and roads is still not fulfilled.
“Though we voted for the leaders in the hope of getting shelter, water supply, school and drain in our settlement, these assurances by the political leaders are far from fulfilled,” complained Laddu Sada, a local, in frustration.
Jaleshwor Municipality, connected with the Indian borders, lies at the deepest place of the district. Houses are inundated during rainy season. Musahar settlement is residing on public land. Around 150 locals of the settlement have no citizenship certificate. Some of the children have deprived of going to school in lack of birth registration as their fathers have no citizenship certificate.
People from Musahar settlement have put forth various demands including citizenship certificate and birth registration, facility of drinking water, road, managing the water of rainy season, and land owner certificate of all public land.
Dozens of people of Musahar community are without citizenship certificate, dozens of children have no birth registration and the settlement is without road, drinking water and school facility.
Most Mushars survive on sharecropping. But they face frequent issues of inundation during rains and drought in absence of rains for farming. They do get no compensation for the loss. “Leaders take no efforts and extend no hands to support the livelihood of poor,” complained Bimalesh Sada.
Ward Chair Sanjay Kumar Pandey and Mayor Ram Shankar Mishra are from the Loktantrik Socialist Party while party chair and lawmaker Mahantha Thakur represents Jaleshwor Constituency-3 that includes the settlement as its parts in the federal parliament.
Likewise, Rani Kumari Tiwari is their representative in the Madhesh Province Assembly.
This Dalit community of the southern plain are unhappy to see their leaders doing nothing for their cause. Poverty, hardship and struggles are indispensable parts to the life of Mushar people. They accuse that 85 Musahar children of the community are denied birth registration certificates due to people’s representatives.
Biraju Shada shared that their children have been deprived of nutrition allowance, free education facility and other facilities meant for children in absence of birth certificates.