Religions oppose kidnapping of child brides

The silence of the victims’ families makes it impossible for authorities to stop the criminal practice that often results in conversion, abuse and violence against these brides.

Admin
Nepal
Nov 26 2013, 6:39 PM
Religions oppose kidnapping of child brides

More people, including Hindus, are raising their voice against an illegal tradition still prevalent in the western districts of Nepal, which involves kidnapping of young girls, even children, during special festivals and forcing them to marry the kidnapper.

The silence of the victims’ families makes it impossible for authorities to stop the criminal practice that often results in conversion, abuse and violence against these brides.

During the Kojagrat Purnima, the full moon day that falls during Diwali (the festival of lights), males compete in the middle of the night to win the most beautiful girl. A man may seize and take home any girl he likes. Later, the young girl has no choice but to marry her kidnapper.

An 11-year old girl, who was a victim to this practice this year, related her experience. On October 27, she was going to the house of her maternal uncle for the festival, when 22-year-old Tej Bahadur Sarki from Kandagaun in the district of Bajura interrupted and dragged her to his house, declaring her his wife.

"We are worried and we want to protect our daughters. Moreover, some older men send young boys to kidnap the girls, and then take them as brides. The government needs to stop this practice," said Dipak Katuwal, a man from the same village.

The problem however is that these kidnappings are never reported by the families of the victims, for fear of retaliation. The district judge Mahesh Khatri said, “If people speak out we would be able to pursue these criminals, and charge them with rape, kidnapping and human trafficking."

Source: AsiaNews

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