Officials cite poverty, tradition, trouble in families and illiteracy as the reasons for child marriages

Even as the government makes tall claims over prevention of child marriages, the practice continues and officials have stopped about seven child marriages in past ten days in Krishna District.

In all the incidents, the girls were between 12 and 16 years and the boys were aged between 20 and 25. Child marriages were reported in Vijayawada, Machilipatnam and Gudivada mandals in the last ten days, said Women Development and Child Welfare (WDCW) officers.

Sexual abuse

Officials and NGOs are giving different reasons for child marriages including lack of social security and the increasing violence and sexual abuse of girls. The WDCW officials and the Child Line, an NGO working against child marriages, booked a few cases against the parents for performing child marriages.

The officers stopped a child marriage at Gilakaladindi village, near Machilipatnam, four in Nagavarappadu village in Gudivada mandal and two at Ranigarithota area in Vijayawada. A few days ago, the officials stopped a child marriage at Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy devastanam, atop Indrakeeladri.

WD&CW Krishna District Project Director N.V. Raghava Rao said that poverty, tradition, trouble in families and illiteracy are the reasons for child marriages in the district.

“In a few cases, parents are performing or fixing marriages of girls even before they attain puberty. In Gilakaladindi case the bride was 12-year-old, in Nagavarappadu village, the bride was 13. Anti-Child Marriage Committees were constituted at village-level with teachers, ANMs, village secretary and village revenue officers to stop child marriages”, said the PD.

Child Line Coordinator A. Ramesh said that the increase in the number of sexual assaults and violence on children were creating unrest among the parents. It could be one of the reasons for marrying off daughters young. “We are campaigning against child marriages”, said Mr. Ramesh.

“In villages, parents are preventing girls from going to school and are performing their marriages”, said an NGO representative.

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