BAJHANG, Jan 3: Holding placards with the slogans "end child marriage, shape beautiful future," women of Bugal Municipality, Bajhang are conducting door-to-door campaigns urging the locals to abolish child marriage. As a part of the campaign, these women have decided to ostracize and penalize the families still practicing child marriage.
At the initiatives of Deulikot Namuna Kishori Sanjal (DNKS) of Bugal Municipality-9, this campaign has been launched to abolish child marriage. They have decided to charge Rs 5,000 to the parents who marry their children off at an early age. Bhagwati Bohora of Bugal Municipality-9 was compelled to get married at the age of 11 when her husband was 13. "I could not perform the household works properly because of which my family members often scolded me and even gave me physical tortures," said Bohora, adding, "There were nights when I had to sleep on empty stomach. I don't want any girl to go through that ever."
According to her, a large number of girls in our society become the scapegoats in the name of culture, religion and also poverty. "All men and women should join hands to eradicate this ill practice," Bohora said. She further added that the government should discourage such traditions and should also take stern action against those who practice or promote such traditions.
With the growth in literacy rate, child marriage was expected to decline in the district. However, it is increasing instead. Still, many girls have to get married before completing their school level education. They even get pregnant at an early age which adversely affects their health. It is believed that those parents who marry their daughters off before menstruation will win the heart of god. Likewise, there are various myths and superstitions associated with girls and marriages which encourage child marriage.
"We will have to protect our innocent children from being the victims of child marriage," said chairperson of DNKS, Ramita Kumari Singh. Bugal Municipality has sanctioned budget for conducting skill development training for women and girls, said Dhan Bahadur Bista, mayor of Bugal Municipality. He further informed that the Municipality will be free from child marriage within a year.
Bajhang is the third district with the highest number of child marriages. Lila Ghale, chairperson of the District Women and Children Office, informed Republica that efforts will be taken to eliminate child marriage in all wards and villages of the district.