Durga Devkota, KAILALI: Local representatives of Kailali, the district in Far West State, have expressed their commitments to taking measures against child marriage. They vowed to take action against anyone found involved in conducting child marriage. As per the prevailing law of Nepal, marriage before the completion of 20 years is unlawful. But the child marriage continues to happen as thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18, and 10 percent are married by age 15, UNICEF data shows. The local governments in Kailali are preparing to come up with a drive against child marriage and a dowry system, which are main causes of violence against girls and women.
Tikapur municipality mayor Tapendra Bahadur Rawal declared that those involved in arranging child marriage would be deprived of facilities delivered by the municipality. We have planned to conduct public awareness programmes, public discourse and discussions to discourage child marriage, a barrier to the empowerment of girls and women. Everyone has been requested to inform the local government if they came to know that any incident of child marriage is being planned or will be happening or is taking place in their locality.
Health institutions data shows that 17 percent mothers in Kailai is below 20 which depicts the reality of the status of child marriage in this Terai plain. The figure is sufficient to predict that child marriage is challenging here. But it does not mean that it is not preventable. Local representatives and political parties have joined hands to combat this practice.
In view of Janaki rural municipality chair Pradeep Kumar Chaudhary, it is the responsibility of all to express solidarity against child marriage, and stand together and act against it. “First of all, parents should be well aware of bad consequences of child marriage and schools should also teach students that child marriage is legally prohibited and punishable,” he asserted.
Lamki Chuha municipality chief Mahadev Bajgain said the cases of self-initiated marriage make up a significant portion of the figure of child marriage. “Awareness of negative implications of child marriage on the part of parents is necessary to stop this social taboo. We are committed to ending it, but our sole efforts will not be sufficient to meet the goal.”
Child marriage is harmful for both bride and groom as it affects their education, career, increases the socio-economic and family responsibilities and so on. In a relative term, girls face more consequences (than boys) including health issues due to early pregnancy, birth complications and so on. Early pregnancy may lead to miscarriage, premature birth, death of mother, child and mental health problem of the mother.
Tikapur municipality deputy mayor Keshari Bista stressed that untimely marriage must be prevented.
Janaki rural municipality vice chair Uma Mahato concluded that child marriage and a dowry system, remaining as ill-practices in the society would eventually push women towards a greater risk of domestic violence. These unwanted practices deprive women of their basic rights to health, reproductive health, education and job opportunities.
The law has the provision of a three-year jail sentence and a fine up to Rs 30,000 each for arranging or helping arrange child marriage. In some particular society, it is entrenched on the back support of customary laws. RSS
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