ROLPA, Jan 31: Of late, Ropa district is seeing an unprecedented rise in the number of child marriages. Although no official data has been maintained, it is estimated that around 41 percent of the total marriages in the district are child marriage.
Lack of a mechanism to lower child marriage and the unwillingness of the locals to see it as a problem has led to the increase in cases of child marriage.
The effects of child marriage are very obvious in schools, hospitals and the district court.
“Despite such a high number of child marriage, the society easily accepts it. This is the main problem,” said Khem Budha, a human rights activist.
“Child marriage is like a culture here. We can see married couple attending school. There are also many who drop out of schools after getting married,” said Rajesh Dhital, an official at the District Education Office, Rolpa.
Child marriage not just ruins the education of the children but also complicates their health. Many of the patients who undergo major surgery at maternity hospitals are girls involved in child marriage.
“Complicated surgeries are usually the result of child marriages. Those girls are not ready to give birth. This is a huge problem in Rolpa,” said Dr Anil KC of the District Hospital, Rolpa.
Child marriages have also kept the district court busy. Lots of divorce cases have been filed at the district court. “Child marriage has been observed as the main cause of divorce in the district,” said District Judge Bashudev Lal Shrestha.
Despite the severity of the issue, the newly elected representatives have not bothered to address the issue of child marriage. Stakeholders are yet to lead social campaigns to discourage child marriage and raise awareness about the ill effects of child marriage.