Child marriage rampant in Bara

Bara, January 8

Various governmental and non-governmental organisations have launched campaigns against child marriage in Bara, but to no avail.

Wakil Dewan of Shreepur at Kalaiya Sub-metropolitan City married off his 14-year-old daughter Sayada three months ago. He married off his daughter to a boy from Birgunj, Parsa. The wedding ceremony was conducted with pomp and show and he gave dowry of Rs 6 lakhs in cash to the boy’s side.

Similarly, Bhadai Majhi’s daughter-in-law Sunaina of Birendranagar at Jitpur Simara Sub-metropolis-18 has reached 16. Married two years ago, Sunaina is seven months pregnant. She got married when she was in grade V.

Parents of Kabita Majhi at the same place married her off at the age of 13. Kabita, now 26, has four children. Her eldest son is 11 years old. Kabita’s best friend Asiya Majhi is mother of three children. Her eldest son is 8. Asiya was married ten years ago and doesn’t know her age. Asiya’s appearance indicates she is about 22 years old.

The prevailing law of the land considers those under 18 as children. The marriageable age, however, is 20.

Women and Children’s Office Bara Chief Anju Dhungana said parents should not perceive responsibilities towards their wards as burden. “Child marriage rate will not drop unless parents become aware,” Dhungana said.

Dhungana says awareness about the risk of child marriage, inclusion of repercussions of child marriage at the school curriculum and strict implementation of the rules will help reduce child marriage. “Child marriage rate is 29 per cent across the country while the rate is terrible in Bara,” Dhungana said.

Dalit Welfare Society Bara chairman Rup Narayan Paswan said child marriage was rampant among Bara’s Dalit community. “Within the Dalit community, Dom parents marry off their wards at the age of 5 and 6,” Paswan said.