August 20, 2018

Schoolgirls stop their marriage before legal age

Patna: Schoolgirls in Bihar are scripting a new saga of social change. Besides revolting against parents seeking to get them married before they are of legal age, they are seeking help from officials to stop the menace of child marriage.

As per information from the state Women Helpline, more than 170 girls have managed to stop their marriages from being solemnised in recent months.

In a recent incident, dozens of girls came together to stop the wedding of their peer Simran Kumari, a grade eight student, in Gurua market area of Bihar’s Gaya district. Kumari was to marry a boy from Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

Acting on information that wedding preparations of their friend were under way at a local temple, dozens of schoolgirls rushed to the temple to stop it. Seeing the anger of the girls, her parents fled the scene.

The girls also called up the local block development official Balwant Kumar Pandey over the child marriage and sought his intervention in stopping the marriage. Sensing the gravity of the situation, the officials rushed to meet the girls. After getting all the information from them, Pandey later asked the local police to act in the matter.

This is the fourth such incident in Gaya district in four months. Last month, grade 11 student Resham Kumari had shot off an emotional letter to the district magistrate pleading for aid in stopping her wedding after her parents arranged it against her wishes.

Initially she tried to convince her parents to defer the wedding, but when she was stopped from attending classes, she penned her tale of trauma on a piece of paper and sent it to the local Gaya district magistrate Abhishek Kumar Singh through ordinary post, seeking his immediate intervention. Soon after getting the letter, the official rushed to her village and put an end to the parents’ plan.

Yet another minor girl Pinki Kumari, a grade nine student, avoided child marriage when some 30 of her classmates rushed to a local police station in February this year and got her wedding deferred with the intervention of the police. Another girl Kajal Kumari, 14, too got her wedding deferred, thanks to the timely intervention from a cultural troupe that was campaigning against child marriage.

Officials and social scientists say the development could be the outcome of growing awareness in society about the evils of child marriage. The state government, it may be noted here, has launched a campaign against child marriage and dowry and in January this year, the government even formed a human chain against these twin social evils.

“This is a welcome change in the society. This is obviously the outcome of growing awareness in society about child marriage. The continuing government’s campaign looks to be slowly bearing fruit now,” said Gaya district magistrate Singh.

Courtesy: Gulf News

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