No end to pain by Rakesh Prasad Chaudhary

NO END TO PAIN: It was September 2015 and Jaleshwar was tense. People in town had taken to the streets demanding a more Madhesi inclusive constitution as the lawmakers in Kathmandu were trying to pass it. Rajwati Paswan, 35 was out on the streets with the protestors, “Women wanted a constitution that did not trample on the rights of anyone, so we were out demanding our rights,” says Paswan. In one of these protests, the security personnel used force, and she was severely injured.

Paswan was eligible for compensation from the government, but despite being promised she has yet to see a rupee. “The state government has a record of my injury in the agitation, but when I asked the hospital to check the record and write a letter of support which I could take to the government for my medical help, the hospital authority refused,” says Paswan adding, “They are denying relief to members of the Dalit community like myself.”

When Paswan could not bear the pain anymore, she paid for the treatment herself, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse for her and her family. Her husband is a daily-wage earner and has had no work due to the lockdowns. Her son works in Chennai but has not been able to send money home due to the pandemic. She is borrowing money just to survive, “I have to support my family and keep them safe from the virus, my husband has no job, and I am in constant pain, is there an end to our trouble?” asks Paswan.

Photos and Text: Rakesh Prasad Chaudhary @rakeshsenior

Copy Edit: Nisha Rai @nishastoryteller

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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