Child marriage rampant in Rukum, shows study

Rukum, November 20

A recent study revealed that the number of child marriage cases in Rukum has increased to worrying levels this year as compared to previous years.

As per the survey carried out in the district recently, around 57 per cent children get married at an early age in the district. The District Child Welfare Committee, Rukum made public the study on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day today.

Despite various awareness raising campaigns launched in the district to curb child marriages, the age-old practice continues unabated.

It is said that the practice of child marriage was most common in the far remote Gotamkot VDC of the district. District Child Welfare Officer Manbir Oli said more than 72 percent children married before the legal age in the VDC.

Stakeholders have opined that the reason behind the early marriage was due to a lack of awareness, poor education and traditional beliefs among others. District Child Welfare Committee said that child marriage, a social evil is yet to be eradicated in many of the remote, far-flung VDCs in the district.

Oli further added that while the percentage of child marriage had increased as the children were forced by their family earlier, a new trend had developed over time with the children marrying without parental consent. Oli informed that the percentage might increase even further if all married couples registered their marriage in the VDCs.

In these regions, almost all children aged 15 to 16 year of their age group married according to their parental arrangement and in many cases without their consent.

Chief at Woman and Children Office, Rukum Puspa Rijal said that it was a great challenge among all the stakeholders to stop the child marriage in the district. She said that early marriage caused domestic violence, early pregnancy among others.

Nepal Bar Rukum Chapter chairman Bhubaneshwor Gautam said child marriage had increased due to the lack of awareness. “Most marriages survive only for four to five years,” he added.

It is said that many incidents related to child marriage have been reported in different places.

Meanwhile, Chief District Officer Banshi Kumar Acharya said numerous campaigns against child marriage had been launched to counter this practice. A source at Rukum District Court said as many as 172 divorce cases were filed in the court by young couples in the last fiscal,