When a 17-year-old girl from Rukum West came to her house for the first time in January, Urmila BK of Jajarkot thought she was her daughter’s friend.
But on the third day of her stay the girl told her she was in fact the friend of her 21-year-old son Nabaraj. The girl, from an ‘upper caste’ Thakuri family then started frequenting the Dalit household.
“I was suspicious that an unmarried girl was sleeping over at our house so regularly. I scolded my son and told the girl not to come back again, but she didn’t stop,” Urmila recalls.
Eventually, Urmila found out that the girl belonged to an ‘upper caste’ Malla family from Chaurjhari village in Rukum. Because she was fearful of the societal backlash for her son’s inter-caste relationship, she told him to take the girl back to her home immediately.
Little did she know that her fear would soon turn to grief in what would be one of the most deadly acts of caste discrimination in Nepal.
Untouched even by the untouchables, Sagun S Lowati
Dalit doubts, Mitra Pariyar
On 24 May, Nabaraj with 19 of his friends set out for Rukum to get the girl to elope with him. Nabaraj was on the phone with her throughout the two-hour walk, but when they reached the girl’s home in Chaujhari, they were suddenly attacked by villagers armed with sickles and hoes.
Nabaraj and friends Tikaram BK and Ganesh Budha were beaten to death, and their bodies were found by the banks of the Bheri River.