The Maoists in Nepal have made marriages in bordering Bihar difficult.
Maithili-speaking families in north Bihar now think twice before crossing the border for bride or groom hunting in Nepal.
"It is turning out to be a big social issue here. Earlier, when the situation was normal, 70 per cent of the families (on the Bihar side) had relations across the border. But in the last two years, it has come down to 10 per cent because of growing security concerns. Those who already have their daughters married are also a worried lot," said Tarteshwar Jha, of Phalna village in Jaynagar.
"Last year, a family of Kamalpur was stopped from taking the barat just a few kilometers ahead of the border at Kunauli to the Nepal side. The marriage party had to plead and pay money before being allowed to reach the destination," said Kapildeo Singh of Dagmara.
Visits to sasurals and maikas (the husband's home and the father's home) across the border have become less frequent in the last two years. "I have not met my in-laws for the last two years. My wife has also stopped going to her maika out of fear," said Ram Lakhan of Dagmara, whose in-laws live in Raj Biraj, across the border in Nepal.
It is not that prospective brides and grooms are not available in Terai areas of Nepal, which is predominantly Maithili-speaking. The entire stretch along the border on the Nepal side has numerous families that have seen cross-border marriages in Supaul, Madhubani and Sitamarhi districts.
"The main reason why people prefer to marry their daughters across the border (in Nepal) is the lower dowry demand," said sexagenarian Maheshwar Prasad Yadav of Dagmara, whose wife is from Ranjitpur in Nepal.
But Ram Lakhan is sceptical. "People face difficulties going to Nepal," he said, vowing not to marry his son and daughter there.