Rautahat works to end child marriageOn Friday, groom-to-be Dipendra Kumar of Chandrapur-4, along with his family, was preparing to go to Santapur to bring home his bride. The next morning, however, Kumar was informed that the wedding got cancelled. He was told by his brother-in-law that the wedding got called-off because his bride-to-be was underage.
On Friday, groom-to-be Dipendra Kumar of Chandrapur-4, along with his family, was preparing to go to Santapur to bring home his bride. The next morning, however, Kumar was informed that the wedding got cancelled. He was told by his brother-in-law that the wedding got called-off because his bride-to-be was underage.
Kumar and his family were stunned to find out that a team of police, people’s representatives and social campaigners had reached the bride’s house to stop the marriage.
A team including Deputy Mayor of Chandrapur Municipality Ramrati Chaudhary, Ward Chairman Paspat Chaudhary, ASI of Santapur Police Post Devraj Yadav, ward members and social campaigners had intervened after they got to know that the bride was not of the legal age to marry.
According to the recently amended Civil Code, the minimum age for marriage in Nepal for both women and men is 20. The bride’s parents tried to convince the police personnel and social campaigners that their daughter has already reached the age of 20. But they were unable to present them with her birth registration certificate.
According to Menuka Bharati of Janasewa Nepal Sanstha, a social organisation, the bride was still in her teens.
“We were able to stop a case of child marriage,” said Bharati. “Most of the parents in Madhesi community try to arrange marriage for their children at a young age.”
Although Nepal abolished child marriage in 1963, the practice is still rampant, especially in the Madhesi communities and rural areas of the country.
A Human Rights Watch report published in September 2016 states that around 37 percent of girls in Nepal marry before the age of 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15. Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in South Asia, after Bangladesh and India.
Most of the cases of child marriage have been stopped in Rautahat after the instalation of complaint boxes in more than 50 schools. Janasewa Nepal Sanstha has installed complaint boxes in the schools to find out the problems of teenage boys and girls. Within the last 11 months, the organisation has intervened and stopped eight cases of child marriage in the district, said Bharati, a campaigner. Representatives of the organisation said the complaint boxes have been effective in reducing child marriage and gender-based violence in the district.