SOLUKHUMBU, May 1: Preparations were going on full swing for the marriage ceremony of an underage girl of Thulung Dudhkoshi Rural Municipality-4, Jubu. She was about to marry a teacher of Deusa on Sunday. However, the marriage has been canceled.
After hearing about the illegal marriage, Ashim Rai, chairperson of the rural municipality tried to convince the parents and also instructed the representatives to stop the marriage. Fortunately, the efforts made by the people's representatives as well as police officers paid off when the parents of the eighteen-year-old Dalit girl agreed not to marry off their daughter so soon.
The girl's father, Yagya Raj Bishwokarma, decided to cancel his daughter's marriage after continuous pressure from various stakeholders. "Earlier, we were not aware about the law associated with child marriage but now we are," said Bishwokarma. Women Development Officer Rashmi Shrestha had coordinated with the stakeholders to stop the child marriage. "We were successful in stopping the marriage due to the coordination of local representatives and police officials," said Shahi.
She stressed that the people's representatives should keep up the efforts to curb child and early marriages which will ultimately help to reduce violence against women. Inspector Resham Parajuli, chief of the local police unit, informed that security personnel will be deployed in that area for few more days.
"Police will actively participate against child marriages which have been increasing in the district of late," said Inspector Parajuli, adding, "From now onward, we won't just arrest the bride and groom but will also arrest their parents if found marrying off their children before the eligible age."
On March 8 - the International Women's Day - police, women and child rights activists and local representatives were successful in stopping a child marriage after much deliberation.
As per the law, no person is allowed to get married before reaching the age of 20. Those practicing child marriages will be subjected to three months to one year of imprisonment depending on the nature of the marriage. Lack of awareness is one of the major reasons behind the increasing number of child marriages.