Kathmandu ( AsiaNews) - In the western districts of Nepal it is still very popular - and illegal - to kidnap female children and adolescents to force them into marriage. According to a tradition, typical of Hinduism , a man may seize and take home any girl he likes . At that point, the young girl has no choice but to marry her kidnapper. However , more and more people (including Hindus ) want to stop this ritual , which often hides cases of abuse and violence against these brides .
According to Hindu tradition ,
such a practice may be honored during the Kojagrat
Purnima , the full moon day that falls during Diwali , the " festival
of lights " . In
the middle of the night , males compete to " win " the most beautiful
girl, kidnap and marry her. Unfortunately,
even female children fall victim to this practice .
This is the case of a 11-year old , who does not want to reveal her name for fear of discovery . On 27 October, the little girl became the "prey" of Tej Bahadur Sarki , 22, from Kandagaun (district of Bajura ) . The minor was going to the house of her maternal uncle for the festival, when the young man took her and dragged her to his house , declaring her his wife.
"We are worried - says Dipak Katuwal , a man from the same village - and we want to protect our daughters . Moreover, some older men send young boys to kidnap the girls, then take them as brides . The government needs to stop this practice ."
The problem however is that these kidnappings are never reported by the families of the victims , for fear of retaliation. However, the district judge Mahesh Khatri says, " if people speak out we would be able to pursue these criminals, and charge them with rape, kidnapping and human trafficking".