Women MPs join hands against dowry system

Kathmandu, July 20

Women lawmakers of the National Assembly and the House of Representatives today joined hands against the dowry system prevalent in the Tarai.

They discussed ways to spread awareness against dowry system. The participants discussed ways to increase awareness against the menace particularly in Province 2 in the first phase and in other parts of the southern plain in the subsequent phases.

NA Vice-chair Sashikala Dahal called a special meeting of women lawmakers to discuss problems caused by the dowry system in Madhes region. More than 20 women lawmakers were present in the meeting held at Singha Durbar.

The participants decided to generate social awareness in eight districts of Province 2 —  Saptari, Parsa, Sarlahi, Bara, Siraha, Dhanusha, Rautahat and Mahottari — where the first phase of awareness programme will be conducted. “I have seen how dowry is ruining society,” said NA Vice-chair Dahal, adding, “We need to work together to eliminate this problem.”

The meeting later formed an 11-member central level committee under Dahal to discuss legal and social measures to abolish dowry system. Lawmakers also said they wanted to form provincial and local level committees to address the problem.

The lawmakers will also discuss dowry problem with relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

NCP (NCP) lawmaker Shashi Shrestha said education was not enough to abolish dowry system. “There are educated and rich people who are more into dowry culture,” she said, adding that awareness was the main weapon to abolish the problem.

Shrestha stressed that redressal measures should be implemented strictly.

Lawmakers also said dowry was prevalent not only Province 2 but all 22 districts of the Tarai.

Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal lawmaker Sarita Kumari Giri said there should be a proper education in schools and colleges about dowry menace. “We have to convince youths that dowry is bad,” she said, adding in the name of “Tilak” the boys’ family demanded money and expensive items like car, bikes and land plots.

She said the judicial system was not able to address the problems because the courts needed evidence and those who demanded dowry did not leave any evidence.

Another lawmaker Kalyani Shrestha said anti-dowry laws were not being strictly enforced.

The lawmakers were planning to use Nepali film ‘Bhoor’, a film based on dowry system to create awareness. The director of the film Yadav Kumar Bhattarai said the film could help create awareness in society against the dowry system.