KATHMANDU, August 1: Although the law strictly prohibits polygamy, the practice of polygamy is common in the Karnali state. In most of the districts of Karnali state, the number of polygamous marriages has increased dramatically.
According to the statistics of the Karnali State Police Office(KSPO), 209 complaints of polygamy were lodged during the last three financial years.
The KSPO statistics show that 111 complaints of polygamy were lodged at the police headquarters of Karnali province in the last fiscal year 2018/19 which is nearly two times greater than the number of complaints lodged in the corresponding period 2017/18 fiscal year.
Chief District Officer at Surkhet District Administration Fanindra Prasad Pokhrel said that most of the polygamous marriages in Karnali state go unreported to the police. According to him, cases of polygamous marriages are on the rise in rural municipalities because women living there become ready to tolerate polygamous marriage due to their being unaware of their rights.
“It is important that rural municipalities take the initiative in identifying households where cases of polygamous marriages have occurred to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice”, Pokhrel said.
A total of 46 cases of polygamy have been registered in the fiscal year 2017/18 and 52 complaints were registered in 2016/17 fiscal year.
Surkhet, Dailekh, Salyan, and Kalikot are on the top of the list of districts having the highest number of polygamy cases in the Karnali state.
The KSPO spokesperson DSP Lokhnath Timisina said that early marriage, unawareness, and lack of education are the major reasons for polygamy in the Karnali state.
The situation of women is very serious in this state as most of them are uneducated and unaware about their rights, Timisina said.
“Public awareness about their rights has encouraged the victims to come forward and report the issue to the police. However, the statistics still do not include many cases of polygamous marriage since they go unreported to the police”, Timisina told Republica Online.
According to the new law, if a married man is found guilty of polygamy, he will be liable to a jail term of up to five years and a fine of Rs 50,000.