Coimbatore

Tiruppur district witnesses steep decline of child marriages after awareness drive

The Tiruppur District Rural Police, in participation with Imayam, a non-governmental organisation, have conducted intervention and awareness programmes at 48 identified villages in Kangeyam, Kundadam and Dharapuram resulting in decline of child marriages.

While conducting a review about the cases related to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and child marriage, the police identified 48 villages as hotspots, said Superintendent of Police G. Shashank Sai.

Unemployment, illieracy, poverty and lack of awareness on ill-effects were found to be the reasons for child marriages and POCSO cases.

The police, along with Imayam, have started ‘Subhiksham’, an initiative to intervene and create awareness about child marriage and sexual abuse in the identified villages, he added.

A total of 53 cases of child marriage were reported in the period between November 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021 in the identified villages, before intervention, said K. Shanthi, cluster coordinator of Imayam. She said that in a few cases, school-going children eloped with youth.

“When we started the intervention, we found that child marriage forced by parents was prevalent among people living below the poverty line, who had no awareness about the ill-effects of early marriage,” said Ms. Shanthi.

As many as 96 awareness camps have been conducted in the villages, in which 8,239 people participated. Street plays were organised in public places, and parents of the minors were sensitised about the legal and health complications of early marriages, she added.

As a result, a total of 15 cases were stopped by the direct intervention of the police through child helpline (1098), 17 cases by the NGO staffs and 17 cases by the VLCPCs in 2021-22. Only one case of child marriage was reported in the identified villages after one year of intervention, as compared to 53 cases in 2020-21.

The rescued children were rehabilitated through various skill development trainings such as tailoring, beautician and computer courses. Some of them were readmitted back to schools to continue their studies, said Mr. Sai.

A 17-year-old girl from Dharapuram, who was in Class XII, was forced into marriage by her parents in November 2021. However thanks to the ongoing programme, the marriage was stopped. Her father, who is a daily wage labourer, said they had arranged for the marriage of the underage girl as the family was not aware of the ill-effects on daughter marrying at that age.

The victim expressed happiness about getting vocational skill development training, a free course under ‘Magalir Thittam’ in Thondamuthur. The girl added that after the training, the skill development centre will arrange for a job for her.

Mr. Sai added that after the intervention measures, the villagers were cooperating well with the Police Department in eradicating child marriage.


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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 7:21:46 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/tiruppur-district-witnesses-steep-decline-of-child-marriages-after-awareness-drive/article65766019.ece