GO TO SOURCE
KATMANDU, NEPAL, Aug, 16, 2001: The Nepalese government said it would outlaw discrimination against lower-caste Hindus and pledged to pass a law ending the centuries-old system that deems certain people "untouchable." "Effective from this day the practice of untouchability and any discrimination based on it will be considered a crime punishable by a severe sentence," Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba told Parliament, announcing his new government's policy. He did not say what the punishment would be. Deuba, who came to power last month after the resignation of an unpopular prime minister and the massacre of Nepal's royal family, said his Cabinet reached the decision as part of a package of sweeping reforms. The country's latest census has yet to be made public, and it was unclear how many Dalits are among Nepal's 23 million people.