They are bonded no more, bur there sufferings are not. yet over. Under intense pressure from human right activists and the intelligentsia, some of the biggest landlords of Kailali District released the bonded labor they were keeping illegally.
Released these workers are, but they have nowhere to go. Workers released by landlord Shiva Raj Panta, a former minister, continue to live in the land owned by their old master. Organised by BASE, a none-governmental organization working for the welfare of ethnic Tharus in the western and far-western region of the country, and encouraged by a Kathmandu-based forum Martin Chautari, about 150 of these former bonded labors have arrived in Kathmandu. They have camped at Gaushala Dharmshala and have been holding sit-ins at Bhadrakali to draw attention to their plight. Till the time of writing this report, government has not taken any notice of their plight.
Slavery was officially abolished from the country way back in B. S. 1982, about\' seventy-five years ago, by the [hen Prime Minister Maharaja Chandra Shamsher.
Existing laws are enough to free these unfortunate beings from bondage. The challenge, however, is to rehabilitate them, and to provide them the dignity of making a living from the land that they have inhabited for centuries. That requires political will. Does our present leadership has it?