16-year-old in Moodbidri was to wed a 19-year-old boy

Child Protection Development Officer, with assistance from Childline, on Saturday prevented an impending child marriage in Moodbidri.

A 16-year-old girl belonging to a minority community was to marry a 19-year-old boy on Sunday. CDPO Moodbidri Shoba and Childline personnel went to the girl’s house on Saturday when ‘Mehndi’ programme was on.

The girl, her parents, and other relatives were brought to the Child Welfare Committee in Bondel on Saturday evening. The CDPO referred the girl’s school records and found out that she was 16.

Father of the girl, who is the eldest of nine children, initially denied that she was being married off before the CWC Chairperson Asha Nayak. But then he said the wedding invitation cards had already been printed.

He claimed that his daughter was 18 years old which was not reflected in the school records. For this, Ms. Nayak has directed the CDPO to check records of Wenlock Hospital where the girl was born.

The girl was sent after her parents submitted an undertaking stating they would not proceed with the marriage.

CDPO Ms. Shoba said having received information about impending marriage a few days ago she issued a notice to the girl’s parents.

There was no response from the girl’s parents. They went to the house following information that the girl was getting married. “There was some resistance (from the girl’s parents and relatives),” she said.

Ms. Nayak said she asked the CDPO to submit a report on the girl’s background.

The CWC will hear the case on Wednesday and then issue a notice to the parents of the boy, who is not 21 years old. Ms. Nayak said the local police had been informed about the incident and had been asked to prevent any attempts to proceed with the marriage in the next few days.

Relatives and neighbours of the girl had gathered at the CWC office. There was a sense of anguish among them as the marriage had been stopped.

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