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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Child Marriages on Akshaya Tritiya

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A large number of children are married off on the day of Akshaya Tritiya in many states of India like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand particularly in rural areas.

Earlier, in 2010, Gothera village of Rajasthan was reported to organize mass child marriage despite strict instructions of the Rajasthan Government. The police, as per reports, could not stop child marriages because villagers secretly organized those marriages before the day of Akshaya Tritiya.

In view of conditions mentioned above, the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare has warned state governments to take all possible measures to combat the wave of child marriages which is feared to take place this year in the Hindu heartland on the occasion of this festival, i.e. on 24th April 2012.

The Ministry of Women and Child Welfare has written the state governments that child marriage is illegal under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. All the concerned officers including district magistrates, collectors, deputy inspectors, deputy inspectors- general, or Superintendents of Police, Sarpanches of various panchayats, State Women Commissions, civil society organizations and Child Marriage Prevention Officers in states and union territories have been suggested to take all preventive measures for breaking the tradition of holding child marriages. Changes in the mindset of society along with strict legal and other schematic interventions are necessary for checking this retrograde social practice.

Every year, thousands of children are reported to be married off on the day of Akshaya Tritiya in many Indian States. It is said that when farmers make money after a good harvest, they marry off their children without any consideration for their early age. Thus thousands of underage children are married every year across the country. Earlier, the Government of Rajasthan organized weddings of Dalit girls under a scheme. It is reported that many beneficiaries in the names of whom funds were released were under age.

Key Words :Rajasthan, Akshaya Tritiya, panchayats, women commission

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