16-year-old girl in Kamakshipalya forced to marry a relative

Alert members of a city-based child helpline prevented the forced marriage of a minor girl in Kamakshipalya on Monday night.

Based on a tip-off, a team from Bosco Childline rushed to a house in Kamakshipalya, where the girl’s mother was allegedly forcing her 16-year-old daughter to marry a relative.

The members managed to convince the family members not to force their ward into wedlock. The victim is living with her mother after her father died a few years ago.

The girl dropped out from school after her mother, who works as domestic help, decided to marry her off to a relative, a 25-year-old construction labourer from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh.

Initially, the mother refused to oblige the Childline members stating that the marriage would ensure the safety of her daughter, as she had to go to work leaving her alone at home, executive director of Bosco childline, Fr. P S George told The Hindu.

She said that she was helpless as neither could she afford her daughter’s education nor would she leave her alone at home.

“I wanted my daughter to be in safe hands and decided to marry her off to one of my relatives,” she said.

However, the child helpline members convinced the woman that they would try to get her help from the Child Welfare Committee for her daughter’s education and future.

However, the girl initially refused to come along with the helpline members as she was “tutored” by her mother and relatives that marriage is the only way to be safe, Fr. George said.

But, after counselling she said she would call off the marriage if she is provided with an opportunity to study further.

“We managed to rescue the girl in the nick of time, as the family was heading to their native Anantapur for the marriage,” Jennifer a Bosco volunteer told The Hindu.

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