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17 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Early marriage on rise in Nilphamari

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Early marriage on rise in Nilphamari

Countless adolescent girls are reportedly being married off in northern Bangladesh, especially in Nilphamari district.

Joriton Begum, daughter of Joen Uddin of Datbhanga village under Roumari upazila of Kurigram district, was only 12 when her family forcibly married her off. But right after the wedding, her husband started torturing her both mentally and physically, demanding Tk. 100,000 in dowry from her family.

Unable to tolerate the beatings, she came back to her father’s house. For the past six months, she has been staying in a safe home called ‘Bhubon’ in Rangpur. Rumi Akhtar, 14, daughter of Amir Hossain of Panchagorh district, was also tortured by her husband for dowry. She, too, left her husband and now stays in Bhubon.

Mousumi Akhtar’s story is the same. Mousumi, daughter of Mahshin Ali of Dinajpur district, was married off at the age of 13. She has also found refuge in Bhubon. These are not isolated incidents. Child marriage is said to be rampant in this region, despite the administration’s occasional attempts to stop them. It is believed that the practice is still continuing because of religious misconceptions, poverty, ignorance, and lack of awareness among parents.

Sources say some of the child brides even committed suicide, unable to put up with the maltreatment after marriage.

An NGO, RDRS, has provided shelter to 22 such underage married girls in Bhubon. The NGO is giving the girls vocational training to help them become self-reliant.

This correspondent spoke to some these girls. Joriton Khatun of Kurigram district told The Independent: “I’m realising the curse of child marriage at the expense of my own life. I couldn’t stay with my husband, for he asked for a hefty dowry of Tk. 100,000.”

According to a survey by UNICEF, 30 per cent of the adolescent girls in Bangladesh are married off before they turn 15.

Though some local NGOs have come to the aid of some of these unfortunate girls, countless others are leading a subhuman life. Shamse Ara Bilkis, senior woman rights officer of RDRS, said the percentage of child marriage is higher in northern Bangladesh than in other parts of the country. All sections of society should come forward to resist child marriage, she added.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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