Social Defence and Child Welfare Committee officials on Wednesday rescued two prospective child brides, including a 15-year-old Dalit girl, after stopping arrangements being made for their marriages in Sivaganga district.

Acting on alerts and on the directive of Collector V. Rajaraman, the officials visited the families of the two minor girls and stopped their marriages, scheduled for Thursday and Friday. At Singampunari near Tirupattur, a 16-year-old Class X dropout, was about to be married to Manikandan, a 32-year-old hairdresser on Thursday.

A 15-year-old Plus One student from T. Pudupatti was scheduled to marry her maternal uncle Sundarapandian (33), working as a bearer in a hotel in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, at Olugamangalam on Friday.

N. Sivakumar, District Probation Officer, Department of Social Defence, who rescued the two girls and admitted them to government homes here after counselling them, said the girls were being forced into marriage as their fathers did not support the families.

He said the 16-year-old girl’s stepmother had alleged that the girl was in love with a boy and she wanted to marry her off to a man of their community. As the girl was willing to pursue her studies, Sivakumar rescued her. The girl was told that she could pursue nursing or teacher training course after completing Plus Two with government support, he said.

He said the 15-year-old Dalit girl had scored 450 out of 500 marks in Class X exams and taken up the first group in Plus One. Her father, who was working in Dubai, sent only Rs.6,000 once in three months to the family. Her mother, a construction worker, was finding it difficult to educate her, Mr.Sivakumar said.

As the girl agreed to continue her studies, he rescued her, he said. . Only five days ago, the officials had rescued two prospective child brides in Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts.

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