Assam’s effort to combat child marriage
Child marriage is a major issue in India, and the state of Assam is taking steps to combat this practice. The state has launched a drive against child marriage with the arrest of 2,441 people since February 2nd, based on inputs received by the Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma. The Director-General of Police, Gyanendra Pratap Singh, has stated that the drive will continue and the superintendents of police of each district have been directed to collaborate with local village leaders and defence personnel to identify cases of child marriage.
“The drive against those violating the provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006 will continue,” CM said. “I have asked the Assam police to act with a spirit of zero tolerance against the unpardonable and heinous crime on women,” he added hours after the drive was launched. The Director-General of Police, Gyanendra Pratap Singh, stated that the superintendents of police of each district were directed to collaborate with local village leaders and defence personnel to identify cases of child marriage.
Alarmingly high teenage pregnancy rate in Assam
The drive is significant as it is an effort to enforce the laws against child marriage and combat this practice in Assam. The government is determined to continue the drive until its objective is achieved, as indicated by the Chief Minister. The crackdown has been initiated due to the alarmingly high teenage pregnancy rate in the state, which stands at 16.8%. The Chief Minister has emphasized that the drive is for public health and public welfare and has urged the people to cooperate with the government.
Total number of arrests in Assam
On the first day of the crackdown, a total of 2,044 people were arrested, including 52 priests, qazis, and others responsible for conducting child marriages. The highest number of arrests were made in Dhubri, with 136 arrests followed by 110 in Barpeta and 100 in Nagaon.
Special bail in Majuli
However, in Majuli, 24 people were arrested, and they got out of jail within 24 hours, raising questions on the special bail. The government must ensure that the laws against child marriage are being properly enforced and those responsible for conducting these marriages are held accountable.
Amidst Assam Police’s extensive mission to crack down on child marriages in the state which 2,000 people have been arrested in Majuli bail was much easier than getting arrested. Notably,24 people in Majuli got arrested during this tough stance against child marriage. According to reports, 24 of them got out of jail within 24 hours. Hence, questions are arising on this special bail.
Total number of cases in Assam
According to the official statistics, the total number of cases against child marriage registered in the police districts were-Bajali 132, Baksa 153, Barpeta 81, Biswanath 98, Bongaigaon 123, Cachar 35, Charaideo 78, Chirrang 54, Guwahati Commissionerate 192, Darrang 125, Dhemaji 101, Dhubri 370, Dibrugarh 75, Dima Hasao 24, Goalpara 157, Golaghat 62, Hailakandi 1, Hamren 15, Hojai 255, Jorhat 25, Kamrup 80, Karbi-Anglong 126, Karimganj 92, Kokrajhar 204, Lakhimpur 32, Majuli 44, Morigaon 224, Nagaon 113, Nalbari 171, Sadiya 85, Sivsagar 54, Sonitpur 60, South Salmara 145, Tamulpur 110, Tinsukia 73 and Udalguri 235.
Importance of continued government action in Assam
In conclusion, the drive against child marriage in Assam is a step in the right direction, and it is important for the government to continue to take this issue seriously. The high rate of teenage pregnancy in the state highlights the need for action to be taken to address this issue. The government must work with local communities and ensure that the laws against child marriage are properly enforced. The crackdown should not be a one-time event but must continue until the objective is achieved and child marriages are no longer taking place in Assam.
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