Covid-19 border restriction affects cross-border marriage culture between Nepal and IndiaThe two countries have restricted movement of people to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Mohan Chandra Pathak of Tanakpur, a neighbouring Indian town of Uttarakhand, reached Gaddachauki border point in Kanchanpur district at around 7 am on Tuesday with a wedding procession of his brother, Jivan.
The groom’s party of 12 was on their way to the bride’s home in Khopde, Baitadi. However, they got stranded at the border point for about five hours. They were allowed to enter Nepal only after fulfilling health security protocol.
“We arrived here with the recommendation of the District Magistrate. But the Nepali authorities are asking for our PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) reports. Only half of us have our test reports,” Pathak told the Post.
Half of the people who had come from India for Jivan Pathak’s wedding were turned away from the border for not having PCR test reports. The groom’s party returned to India with the bride on Wednesday after Tuesday night’s wedding ceremony.
“The auspicious time to perform the wedding ceremony was at day time. But we could not reach the bride’s home in time as we were stranded at the border for hours,” said Pathak.
A wedding procession heading toward India had also faced a similar problem recently.
Weddings between people of two neighbouring countries have been affected due to the closure of Nepal-India border amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The district administration recommends a limited number of people to go to India for weddings. According to Chief District Officer Ram Kumar Mahato, three families have asked for recommendations since March to visit India for wedding ceremonies.
“We allow the wedding attendants who meet the health security protocol to cross the border. PCR test reports are mandatory for Indian wedding attendants to enter Nepal,” said Mahato.
Of late, the Indian authorities too are allowing people to enter India for employment, treatment and to receive pension on the recommendation of district administration offices.
The Nepal-India border has been sealed since March 24, when the government decided to enforce a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, which lasted for nearly four months. While the lockdown has been lifted, cross-border movements are still restricted.
Many weddings in Sudurpaschim Province have been delayed or postponed indefinitely because of the ongoing border restrictions.
The engagement of Bhawana Budal of Dasharath Municipality-10 in Baitadi was arranged with a man from Pithouragarh of India. The wedding was fixed for the month of April but it has been postponed for an indefinite period.
“We have been waiting to get our eldest daughter married for the past seven months. The boy’s side has started urging us to proceed with the ceremony even if we have to cross the Mahakali river on a tyre tube. Our dream to perform the eldest daughter’s marriage with much fanfare will probably be deferred due to border closure,” said Shanti Budal, Bhawana’s mother.
Jhulaghat bridge connecting Nepal and India across the Mahakali river has been closed to contain the coronavirus spread.
Various settlements of Dasharathchand Municipality, Pancheshwor Rural Municipality, Shivanath Rural Municipality among other villages in the district have age-old marital relation with the people of neighbouring Indian settlements.
“A number of marriages between the people of two neighbouring countries have been affected due to border closure enforced amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dasharath Mangola, the ward chairman of Pancheshwor-2.