April 29, 2018 03:00 AM NPT
By: GANESH BK
RUKUM, April 29: A large number of people of Jaidhune ward no 7 of Sanibheri Rural Municipality were busy showering their blessings to a young couple who were about to tie the knot a few days ago. However, the couple's red letter day could not be as special as expected. Soon, the smiling faces started shedding tears.
People invited in the feast were astonished when police came and arrested the bride and groom. Acting on a tip off, police reached the wedding venue to arrest the couple after hearing that they were practicing child marriage. Eighteen years old bride of Sanibheri-10 and seventeen years old groom of Sanibheri-7 had an affair and were about to marry on that day.
Gagan Singh Thakuri, in-charge of Simli Police Station, informed that the couple was caught just before performing the marriage rituals.
According to Thakuri, the father of the girl is a teacher. "It's sad to see an educated family promoting child marriage," he said.
As of now, the girl and the boy are under police custody but will be handed over to their parents after providing them some counseling. "At first, we will provide them some counseling," said Thakuri, adding, "But if they get arrested again for the same offense before the eligible age, we will take legal actions."
So far, police have been succeeded in stopping 13 child marriages. Rukumeli Society Development Center and various child rights networks formed in each wards have been actively involved in curbing child marriages. Police have been conducting campaigns to end child marriage in coordination with the rural municipality.
It is really disappointing that child marriage is equally practiced among the educated and well-off families. As per the government, no girl or boy is allowed to marry before the age of 20. Those people practicing child marriage will be subjected to six to one-year imprisonment depending on the nature of the case.