This is how overseas employment causes crimes in Nepal

Dinesh Sigdel, a resident of Ilam district in eastern Nepal, married Anita KC as his second wife despite his family’s opposition. The family did not agree to the marriage, forcing the newlyweds to stay in Biratnagarthe capital of the province 1.

After a few years of marriage, Sigdel traveled first to Malaysia and then to Bahrain for overseas employment. Working hard, he would send as much money as possible to his wife and daughter.

Since January 2021, Sigdel’s communications with his wife have begun to become less frequent. Sigdel found the woman less interested in speaking with him as he was busy with his work.

In his desperate effort to reconcile with his wife, Sigdel returned home in January 2022. He planned to return soon as he had borrowed Rs 60,000 from a colleague for his home visit, meaning he had no don’t have the luxury of staying long here. . But, before that, his chopped body parts were found in different bags near Dharan-Bhedetar road in nearby Sunsari district on February 17, 2022.

Police investigations have revealed that his wife Anita KC and her extramarital partner Saroj Bhandari murdered Dinesh Sigdel, Sunsari District Police Bureau Chief Sanjaya Singh Thapa informs.

This is not an isolated case. Local police and judicial authorities claim that overseas employment is linked to the majority of conflicts and crimes that occur in the homes of Nepali society these days.

From Fraud to Murder

Dossier: Foreign workers leaving Nepal

Many criminal complaints are now heard at the local level in Nepal thanks to the Constitutionprovides for the formation of judicial committees headed by deputy heads of local governments.

According to Bam Bahadur Bhattarai, former Deputy Mayor of Phungling Municipality in Taplejung, “The majority of complaints filed with the Judiciary Committee at the local level relate to overseas employment. It has become a significant challenge for society.

According to Central Police spokesman Bishnu Kumar KC, most of the recent crimes have been linked to overseas employment. “Employment abroad causes family conflicts, which increases the rate of crime within the family,” he says.

He adds that overseas employment is not only linked to social crimes such as fraud and domestic violence, but also causes heinous crimes such as murder. The Dharan incident is the latest example.

According to the Province 1 Police Bureau in Biratnagar, in the fiscal year 2020/21 alone, 36 husbands who killed their wives and two wives who killed their husbands were arrested. Many of these incidents are also related to overseas employment.

According to retired DIG Hemanta Malla Thakuri, most of those who have gone abroad have problems at home. “Some are removing it for social reasons, while few have made it public,” he says. “The solutions to some of their problems even turned into criminal acts.”

“Today’s young generation does not want to live in Nepal. They are always looking for opportunities to go abroad,” says Malla. He says, “A large number of young Nepalese have migrated to the Gulf countries. Those who leave to work abroad immediately after marriage face family problems.

High Divorce Rates, Larger Disruptions

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According to lawyer Tika Prasad Kandel, overseas employment has also increased the incidence of divorces. “Men tend to come back to get married and go abroad within days of getting married,” he says.

According to him, if husband and wife do not stay together for a certain period after marriage, it ends up increasing social problems. “My personal opinion is that after marriage, husband and wife should make it a rule to stay together for at least six months,” Kandel says.

Overseas employment has not only led to family disputes, but also has a negative impact on children. Rajesh Sharma, Chair of the National Children as the Zones of Peace Campaign (CZOP), says: “It is the right of children to grow up with their families, to receive love and affection. But, at an early age, children are deprived of guardianship. As soon as one of the parents goes abroad, the child is kept in the hostel, which also affects his mental health.

According to Sanjeep Neupane, a child rights activist, when a couple divorces due to the situation created by overseas employment, the child is also used as a means of financial negotiation. “Those with a child are more likely to take over the property in order to raise them,” says Neupane. “Children are exposed to violence; chances are they will fall into bad company because they don’t get the proper care,” he says. “These children are also at risk.”

Overseas employment and gender

Migrant workers line up to obtain work permits, in Kathmandu, in July 2020.

Recently, the number of women seeking employment abroad has also increased. According to the former deputy mayor of Dharan Sub-Metropolitan City, Manju Bhandari, even women who go to work abroad have complained that their men have relationships with other women. Bhandari understands that when a husband and wife get married and go to work abroad without fully understanding each other, problems arise.

Manju Prasai, former Deputy Mayor of Kankai Municipality in Jhapa, has a similar experience. “My experience as the coordinator of the judicial committee shows that the main problem of society now is overseas employment,” says Prasai.

Moreover, Til Bikram Kandangwa, professor of sociology at Kankai Multiple Campus in Jhapa, says that the practice of independence is growing in society. “Before, there was a common family; there was care and support. Along with that, family members were monitoring everyone’s behavior,” he says.

However, according to Kandangwa, people are now forgetting social values ​​and the incidence of extramarital affairs is increasing due to the higher exercise of freedom. This brings disunity in the family. “Even if a man earns money by going abroad, there are cases where he does not have a wife when he comes to Nepal. There are also cases where a man breaks up with his wife while she is abroad,” says Kandangwa. “The solution to this social problem is to create employment opportunities at home.”

“No young person has gone abroad as they please. They are forced to leave their homeland due to the lack of employment opportunities,” Kandangwa explains. “If the federal or local governments can provide them with employment in Nepal, there will be no such problem.”

This story was translated from the original Nepali version and edited for clarity and length.