Priests vow to support campaign against child marriage

SURKHET: Expressing solidarity to the campaign against the child marriage, local priests here in Surkhet vowed that they would not perform the marriage ritual if any of the bride or groom is found underage.

If needed, they will also ask the parents to submit birth certificates.

The priests' decision comes at a time when various stakeholders have been spearheading campaigns against the child marriage with a view to making the district a child marriage-free district by 2010.

In a programme organised in Surkhet today, the district-based priests also made a five-point commitment. As per their commitment paper, they will not attend the parties of child marriages, organise marriages only seeking the certificates of completion 18-years, in case of any doubts over the age and spread awareness among other priests. They also expressed readiness to extend their help in order to make the district the child marriage-free district.

Nawaraj Devkota, one of the priests, of Birendranagar Municipality-3 said that the child marriage was rampant despite it being illegal. He focused over the unity among all priests to thwart such ill practice.

Narayandutta Poudel of Mainatada VDC promised to completely discourage the child marriage in his area.

In the programme, they said that the child marriage would be completely wiped out in case the priests became aware and effective law was made.

Various awareness programmes have been on in the district from October, 2008, with the initiatives by District Child Welfare Committee. Ramadevi Bhandari, officer of District Child Protection Centre, extolled the priests for their commitment as they had a greater role to combat such social ills.