13-year-old Dalit mom forsaken by 'spouse' family

Palpa, September, 8 : Thirteen-year-old Nirmala Nepali of Gulmi, who gave birth to a daughter, now lies abandoned at the district hospital at Tamghas. The young mother was left high and dry after the family of the boy who made her pregnant fled from the hospital upon learning that they would have to accept her as their daughter-in-law.

Although Nepali was discharged on Monday, she has been staying at the hospital as she has nowhere to go.

Nepali, a sixth grader at Panchayan Higher Secondary School, said she had consensual sex with a ninth-grader Brahmin boy at the same school, with the understanding that they would marry in future.

The new mother said she was in love with Ramchandra Pandey, 18, son of Tamlal Pandey of Dhurkot Bastu-3, and entered into a physical relationship. However, the Pandey family has locked their house and fled since Friday.

Although Nepali had decided to go to her parental home, she´s been waiting at the hospital as police hoped to find the boy and his family.

Nepali has been living on donations from some district organizations. Chief District Officer Parshu Ram Aryal himself provided Rs 2,000 and asked the Red Cross for clothing for the young mother.

“We´re searching for the boy´s family and supporting Nepali because of her weak economic situation,” Aryal said.

Aryal, who has been surrounded by organizations pressing to bring the boy in, is seeking help from the Dalit Rights Activists Association over legal issues. “Organizations come and surround me. How am I to bring the boy immediately,” Aryal said.

In case the boy´s family doesn´t accept the newborn, Aryal said they would have to go to court to establish the relationship between the two, and if needed, a DNA test should be done.

“If the boy´s family accepts the child, that´s fine. Otherwise, we´ll have to take the case to court. However, various associations are saying that the boy should be brought in by force,” Aryal said.

Dr Bhesh Raj Pokharel of the district hospital said that although Nepali was discharged on Monday, they´ve allowed her to stay on in the hospital for some time. “The hospital has given her Rs 1,000, and Rs 1,000 more as maternity allowance,” Pokharel said. He said that both mother and child were in good health. At birth, the child weighed two kg.

The district administrative office has directed Pandey´s neighbor Pom Lal Bhandari to bring Pandey and his family to the office within five days. Bhandari said that he did not know where the family had fled. “I´ve heard that Ramchandra is in India. However, I don´t know where the parents are,” Bhandari said.

Human right activists and an NGO working for the welfare of the suppressed have said that if the Pandey family is not found within five days, they would make provisions for Nepali to stay at her new home itself.


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