Officials of the Women and Child Development Department, along with members of the Child Welfare Committee and the police, stopped the wedding of two sisters, both minors, at Kusnoor village in Gulbarga taluk on Wednesday.

All the formalities for the wedding had been completed and the bridegrooms were about tie the mangalsutra when the officials entered the premises. On seeing the officials, the wedding was stopped.

An inquiry revealed that the brides were aged 16 and 14 and extremely poor. Their mother was ill and their father had abandoned them. This was why the wedding was being held. The mother admitted that both her daughters were minors and said that as she was terminally ill, she did not have any option but to marry her daughters.

The 16-year-old, who had studied up to SSLC, said that she wanted to continue her studies, but the situation was such that, she was forced to agree to a wedding. Her sister was inconsolable and refused to speak. The mother fainted after police took her daughters and the bridegrooms to the University Police Station to record their statements and get an undertaking that they would not get married now. She later said that doctors had told her that she would not survive for more than three months. “Ï spent whatever little I had saved and took a loan for the wedding…everything has gone to waste. I am ruined now. I don’t know what will happen to my daughters….” The mother works as an agricultural labourer and has four girls. Her two younger daughters are studying. She said that she had persuaded the bridegrooms, who were her relatives from Bijapur and Bagalkot, to marry her daughters.