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Nepal widows protest marriage incentive

Published: 8:49AM Wednesday August 12, 2009 Source: Reuters

  •  (Source: Reuters)
    Source: Reuters

About 200 women marched through the Nepali capital to denounce a government scheme to pay cash incentives to men for marrying widows, witnesses said.
   
Nepal's centre-left coalition announced a plan last month to pay men the equivalent of $973 for marrying widows, angering the widows.
   
Women shouting slogans such as You can't sell your mother, and We don't want government dowries, marched towards a government complex that houses the prime minister's office.
   
They were stopped by riot police, but there were no arrests or violence.
   
Durga Neupane, an organiser and a widow, said activists would mobilise widows throughout the Himalayan nation if the government failed to scrap the decision.
   
"If that is not done we'll gather widows from across the country and organise more protests," she said.
   
The government says the scheme seeks to help widows who face social and cultural barriers in a majority-Hindu society.
   
But Neupane said it would only add to their woes as men would marry widows for money and later abandon them.

Widows, she said, should instead be given jobs, better health care and education.