Sudurpaschim Province

Underage marriage still rampant in Bajura


May 27, 2019-

Rupsara Lwar, 17, the daughter of Riuli Lwar, a ward member of Siradi in Budhinanda Municipality-3, Bajura, got married to Purna Kami, 18, of the same ward recently. Purna is the son of Hiru Kami, also an elected representative.

According to villagers, Rupsara and Purna got married with full consent from their families. However, the country’s law states that the minimum age of marriage for both women and men is 20.

Since the wedding, Rupsara, who was studying at grade 9 in a local school, has now stopped going to school since she’s busy with household chores all day long. Her husband Purna has also left school and has started helping his parents with everyday chores.

Dhan Bahadur Bohara, a native of Siradi, said that advocating for ending child marriage is only limited to campaigns and speeches in his village. He said, “The elected representatives of the village don’t practice what they preach. They themselves marry off their under-age children, but expect the rest of the villagers to abide by the law.”

Bire Lwar, a local man, said that parents of Rupsara and Purna did not pay heed to the villagers’ request to stop their children’s marriage. He said, “We told them not to marry off their under-age children, but they did not listen to us.”

According to Riuli, Rupsara’s mother, she tried to convince her daughter to not get married so early. “But the two of them eloped and got married. How could we take her back to our house after she had already eloped and gone to somebody else’s house?” she asked.

As per government data, the rate of child marriage has been increasing in a majority of villages in Bajura. As per the 2011 national census,  24,919 women in Bajura married before they were in their 20s. Of them, 4,000 girls married at the age of 15 or below. 

Although district-wide awareness campaigns have been launched in Bajura to end child marriage in the past, people are still practicing it in remote villages.

Child marriage has been illegal in Nepal since 1962, but a complex web of factors still makes the practice rampant. According to UNICEF data, Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia: around 37 percent of girls marry before they turn 18, while 10 percent marry before turning 15.


Published: 28-05-2019 07:00

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