Those who plough the land are called Hali (tillers) in Nepal. More specifically, those who plough land of landlords as regular labourers are called Haliyas. This practice of keeping Halis is widespread especially in the mid- and far-western hilly regions. This system is a type of bonded labour and often referred to as a form of semi-slavery. In this system, if anyone takes loan from the landlord, the entire family is bound to work as bonded labourer and this passes on for generations until the loan is paid back. This practice is found in other parts of the country as well, although it may be called by different names in different places. The Halis, particularly in mid- and far-western regions of Nepal, are forced to live in extremely miserable and wretched conditions since they don’t own any land and have to live in the mercy of the landlords.
Haliya Gathering (Dialogue on Rehabilitation and Freedom of Haliya):
Demanding for the rehabilitation along with the provision of land, the Haliya of Baitadi organized a rally and held dialogue with concerned stakeholders at Sahilek, headquarter of Baitadi. Although the Haliya system has been banned since 2065 B.S, people are still compelled to work as Haliya. This is all because government did not provide alternative of rehabilitation for Haliyas. They stated that they did not have residing land ,hence the policy exerted by government stating the provision of trainings and other culinary items is not the prior of concern. There was a participation of more than 500 Haliyas in the program. The program was organized by National Land Rights Forum (NLRF) in joint conjunction with National Dalit Network, INSEC,Haliya Mukti Samaj Mahasangh, Dalit Bhumihin Kisan Sangh, Dalit NGO Federation,
Most of the speakers in the program stressed on serious attention needed for the commitment by political parties and government with regard to rehabilitation of Haliya. During the program, the organizers stressed on the equal participation of Haliya men and women in ongoing policy formulation with regard to prohibition of bonded labour. There is need for implementation of budget and plan by district council for the re-collection of data of Haliya. Moreover, there must be effective system and structure within the VDC as well for the rehabilitation of Haliya ensuring housing and land and distribution of identity card of Haliya. During which, all of the political parties expressed their commitment and solidarity to meet the demands.
After the assembly, on 4th March, 2013 the meeting held between Haliya Rehabilitation and Monitoring Working Committee has recommended the ministry for the recollection of data of Haliya and rehabilitation of Haliya ensuring land. Consequently, the district council of Baitadi held on 5th March, 2013 has approved the plan of recollection of data of Haliya.
The Haliyas has been legally announced as Freed Haliya, since 4 years but however they are compelled to work as Haliya. So, the Haliyas of Baitadi organized a rally and held dialogue with concerned stakeholders at Sahilek, headquarter of Baitadi demanding for their rehabilitation and specific provision of Housing and Agricultural Land not being limited with provision of facilities and relief packages. Consequently the Haliyas has been more organized and their demand has been clearly put forth into debate and discussion.