Dhading,Balvivah ma vriddhi.
DHADING: Child marriage continues unabated in Dhading district.
Last year, five child marriages were performed in Brushbang and Jogimarin the district. Sani Chepang of Mahadevsthan VDC in Brushbang, Dhading, now 16, was married last year. She has a seven-month-old son. Likewise, Shirmaya Chepang, 13, of the same village and Pramila Chepang,10, of Jogimara tied the knot last year.
The Chepang populace resides in 10 southern VDCs of Dhading. Though the district court had sentenced parents of Muna Chepang,14, and Buddhalal Chepang, 15, on the charge of early marriage last year, they were freed later. Many governmental and non-governmental organisations have launched awareness campaigns appealing to people to marry only after 20, but they have been ineffective. Chepang journalist Uddhav Chepang said early marriage was a scourge among the Chepang community. “While other children of their age go to school, Chepang girls carry children on their laps,” he said, adding, the young girls are not even aware of the health hazards if they get pregnant. “These girls do not take parturition service while birthing. So, early marriage really puts their lives at risk,” he added.
According to Indraman Shakya, programme coordinator of Shanti Nepal, an organisation working for Chepangs, parents force their children into early marriage thinking that they will support cultivation. Awareness programmes have not been effective.
Chepang elders are adamant about sticking to the old mind set, said Shakya. According to the 2011 census, 18000 of 68,699 Chepangs live in Dhading.