Assam Police arrest 1,800 people in massive crackdown on child marriages

Assam Police arrest 1,800 people in massive crackdown on child marriages

The Assam Police have arrested over 1,800 people so far on Friday (February 3) in a massive crackdown on child marriages, state Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The crackdown began early in the morning across the state and it would continue over the next three to four days, Sarma told reporters on the sidelines of a programme in Guwahati.

“State wide arrests are presently underway against those violating provisions of Prohibhiton of Child Marriage Act. 1800 + have been arrested so far. I have asked @assampolice to act with a spirit of zero tolerance against the unpardonable and heinous crime on women,” CM Sarma tweeted on Friday.

The police have registered 4,004 cases of child marriage in less than a fortnight since the state cabinet decided on January 23 to take action, with the arrest of offenders and a simultaneous launch of an extensive awareness campaign.

The chief minister said the crackdown was continuing and a clear picture would emerge by evening on the number of arrests and the districts from where those were made. The highest number of 136 arrests so far has been made in Dhubri where 370 cases have been registered, followed by 110 in Barpeta and 100 in Nagaon.

Also read: ‘Appropriate age for motherhood is 22 to 30 years’: Assam CM Sarma

Those having married girls below 14 years of age will be booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and cases under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 will be registered against those who have married girls in the 14-18 years age group.

They will be arrested and the marriages will be declared illegal. If the boy is also below 14 years of age, he will be sent to a reform house as minors cannot be tried in the court.

The priests, kazis, and family members involved in the conduct of such marriages will also be booked, Sarma had said earlier.

‘Assam Govt resolved to end menace of child marriage’

“Assam Govt is firm in its resolve to end the menace of child marriage in the state. So far @assampolice has registered 4,004 cases (of child marriage) across the state and more police action is likely in the days ahead. Action on the cases will begin starting February 3. I request all to cooperate,” the CM tweeted on Thursday (February 2).

Sarma chaired a virtual meeting with the superintendents of police in the presence of the  Director General of Police G P Singh on the state-wide police action. He appealed to the people to extend support and cooperation to rid the state of the evil practice.

Also read: Child marriages among girls: Highest in Jharkhand, nil in Kerala

Assam has a high rate of maternal and infant mortality, with child marriage being the primary cause as an average of 31 per cent of marriages registered in the state are in the prohibited age, according to reports of the National Family Health Survey.

Of the 4,004 cases of child marriage registered recently, the highest was reported in Dhubri (370), followed by Hojai (255), Udalguri (235), Morigaon (224) and Kokrajhar (204).
Hailakandi district reported only one case, while 24 were reported in Dima Hasao and 35 in Cachar.

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