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Child Marriage, Foreign Employment Ruining Youths’ Life

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Jajarkot, April 14, 2016: They were madly in love. They thought they’d conquer the world if they could get each other. When Dinesh Oli, 20 and Yamuna Chand Oli, 19, tied the nuptial knot five years ago, they were pretty sure that they’d overcome every challenge to make their life beautiful.

But early marriage was not something that would come without cost. In fact, marrying before right age has brought unforeseen consequences in the couple’s life, which now terms love as nothing but the ‘biggest mistake’ of life.

“Both of us were very young when we got married. There were beautiful dreams in eyes, which are shattered now,” said Yamuna, already a mother of two. “I never knew such days were in store for me,” she added.

After marriage, the couple dropped out of school. They were in tension about how to be financially strong. The pressure led Dinesh to Malaysia. Yamuna, was growing her kids. Gradually, relationship turned sour between them.

According to Yamuna, Dinesh beats her every time he comes home. He is not even willing to give money to family. She has claimed her due share in property and sought divorce from husband. “He was different earlier. But then he changed. I cannot live disrespectful life,” Yamuna says.

Dinesh, local of Chhepka village however defends himself. He stated that his wife’s charges are baseless. “I have always tolerated a lot and bore so much pain for family. But instead of supporting me, she is blaming me for this and that. She wants to get separated,” Dinesh said.

While Dinesh has just reached the marriageable age, Yamuna needs to wait a year more to get legally married. To marry without consent of parents, a Nepali citizen has to be 20, as per law. But this couple is already married for five years and is now on the verge of getting divorce.

Sunata Malla and Khimraj Malla’s conjugal relationship is also suffering because of early-age marriage. This Bheri municipality couple got married while too young. They are making rounds of district court seeking divorce, though they are just 20 now. Sunita and Khimraj’s relationship had also turned bitter after the latter left for Malaysia for foreign employment. Sunita had filed case for divorce even before Khimraj’s repatriation.

Yet another case of child marriage that recently ended in divorce is that of Amrita Buda Chhetri, 23 and Karnabahadur Oli, 24. In their case also the frictions surfaced in the couple’s relationship after the husband left for gulf country for employment. Several reasons made their life difficult and finally separated them.

“Life was happy after few years of marriage. But then, nothing remained the same and now it feels that early marriage only gives pain,” says Dinesh.

The three are just representative cases. Number of women seeking divorce for ‘not getting financial support from husband’ and being troubled by domestic violence and clashes is seen a growing trend in the district. Most of these women seeking or fighting against divorce are mothers of young children.

In the past, women would leave husband silently if they no longer wanted to live with them. These days, they seek divorce from court, according to staffs at court. Most of these women age between 20 to 25 years, District Court Justice, Lilaraj Adhikari said.

“Cases of divorce are on rise. Earlier people would simply live separately if they didn’t want to continue together. These days, they end it legally,” he said. He added that child marriage and foreign employment is the main reason behind the growing cases of divorce and disintegration of the families.

A local rights activist Rajendra Karki also puts the blame on child marriage. Due to very early marriage, people’s life gets ruined, he said. Jajarkot is among the top most districts in the country to practice child marriage. “When they get married in early age, their education, health and future gets affected. Children of such couples also have to go through much problem in life,” Karki said.

Netra Prasad Bhushal, an official at the District Court, informed that 51 out of the total 163 cases filed in the running fiscal year, are of divorce.