Jajarkot: The priests who conduct marriage ceremony here have agreed to perform marriage rituals only after confirming whether the girl and boy getting married are of legally marriageable age.
The district has high rate of child marriage standing at 74 per cent among the people under 20 years as per the statistics of the District Court, Jajarkot.
Due to the high prevalence of child marriage, cases of domestic violence, polygamy and divorce among others have also gone up here.
In Nepal, according to the UNFPA, 41 per cent of women aged 20 to 24 are married before they turn 18. Child marriage is illegal in Nepal. The recent Civil Code has set the minimum age of marriage at 20.
Conducting child marriage and marrying a child is punishable. Against this backdrop, in a bid to prevent child marriage, the local police administration summoned as many as 15 priests and imparted training to them on the harmful impact of child marriage specially on the reproductive health of the girls among others and legal actions against this ill social practice.
Now onwards, the priests here will check citizenship certificate to find out the official date of birth of the marriage hopefuls before forwarding the marriage ceremony, according to the District Police Office, Jajarkot Chief, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shyam Bahadur Khatri.
DSP Khattri shared that police have been providing orientation to Mother’s Group (Aama Samuha) and school children to raise awareness of this ill social practice.
Satya Prasad Sharma, a local priest from Bheri municipality in the district who has been conducting marriage for the past three decades, pledged that he would not cooperate in the cases relating to the child marriage.
“I will rather provide counselling to the young girls and boys who would expect the conduct of marriage ceremony from me,” he added.