Dadeldhura, February 13
The practice of child marriage continues unabated in hilly districts of the far west region.
Kalawati Bista Air, 15, of Aalital VDC, Dadeldhura got married at the age of 14. Air had eloped with Birkhe Air, 16, of Godawari VDC, Kailali a year ago. One year into marriage, Kalawati was driven out of her in-laws’ home. After her parents refused to give shelter to Kalawati, she has been working at her neighbour’s house to make a living.
Similarly,Janaki Khatri of Jogbudha, Dadeldhura was married off at the age of 16. Even before six months into the marriage, Janaki’s husband left for India for employment. “My parents forcefully married off me. My husband too is outside the country for a long time,” Janaki lamented. Kalawati and Janaki represent the plight of many others, who are married off at a tender age.
Several government and non-government organisations have been spending millions every year to end the practice of child marriage, but to no avail.
Chief District Officer of Dadeldhura Prem Prasad Luintel said that despite millions being spent to discourage the practice, child marriage continued unabated in the rural areas. “Most of the time teens elope secretly. How can we stop something that happens secretly?” CDO Luintel questioned.
DIG Bijay Bhatta at the Far-western Regional Police Office said only three child marriage cases were registered with the police from three hilly districts in the last two years.
A version of this article appears in print on February 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.