Schools shut, tribal kids led into child marriage

Child marriage
Lockdowns in the wake of the Covid-19 contagion have led to a spurt in child labour | Photo: Shameen Alauddin

“Barely two weeks into our marriage, he started coming home drunk, assaulting me, and forcing himself on me. When I got pregnant, the abuse got worse,” recounts Sabita.

Sabita, 14, is six months pregnant. Until nine months before she was married to 21-year-old Ganga in December 2020, she had been a Class 7 student at an ashramshala (residential school) in Odisha's Jajpur district. She will discontinue her education to bring up her child.

***

“I was in love and did not know what was right for me. I made a mistake. Now I don’t know what to do,” rues Asha.

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