DADELDHURA, Dec 22: It has been more than nine years since the government abolished the Haliya (indentured plowman) system and freed the agricultural bonded laborers. However, not much has been done to address their problems and issues.
The lack of clear basis and criteria for the categorization of their identity cards has been a major problem for these people. Speaking at a social audit program organized by the National Haliya Freedom Society Federation, (NHFSF), Dadeldhura, participants discussed the factors which are restricting them from enjoying their freedom. According to NHFSF, Dadeldhura, the sluggish distribution of identity cards and certificates, transfer of government officers, new federal restructuring, among other reasons, have delayed the Free Haliya Rehabilitation Program (FHRP).
Despite mentioning the issues and agendas of Haliyas in their election manifestoes, no leaders and representatives have done anything for the welfare of these people. This, according to Hari Singh Bohora, program coordinator of NHFSF, is one of the major reasons behind the snail-paced rehabilitation of Haliyas. Speaking at the program, Bohora also shed light on the accomplishments and achievements of Haliyas. He further informed Republica that as many as 32 candidates from this community got elected in the local elections conducted earlier this year.
According to him, altogether 32 representatives including a deputy mayor, a vice-chairperson, two ward chiefs, four open members and 24 Dalit members were elected in the elections.
After staging several protests seeking emancipation since 2002, Haliyas were finally freed on September 6, 2008 as the government made an official declaration that 19,059 Haliyas from the Mid- and Far-Western regions won't have to work as tenants.
After their emancipation, only few Haliyas have been able to establish themselves while many are still suffering. They no longer are life-long servants of anyone but they are facing various problems. However, their miseries and pleas go unnoticed and unheard by the authorities concerned. This has greatly disappointed them.