Child marriage cases on the rise

As many as 18 were booked in the city in the past month

Published - July 08, 2021 12:44 am IST - CHENNAI

After stopping the marriage of a 14-year-old girl in Thiru. Vi. Ka. Nagar this week, police personnel of the Special Wing for Crime against Women and Children are on the lookout for the 23-year-old bridegroom.

Earlier, on June 28, the police stopped another child marriage at a temple in Kasimedu. The girl was pregnant, and the 20-year-old bridegroom was arrested. In the same area, the police stopped another child marriage in May, and arrested a youth for raping the victim.

As many as 18 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, in the city limits in the past month. The accused and family members, who harboured them, were also arrested. The victims have been sheltered or reunited with their parents, said a senior police officer.

Kanya Babu, co-founder, All India Movement for Service, said, “We keep receiving reports about child marriages in slum and resettlement areas. The police should effectively punish parents who solemnise child marriages. Awareness programmes should be conducted in these areas.”

Andrew Sesuraj, convener, Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch, said, “Tamil Nadu has a proven model to prevent child marriages. Retaining children in schools is the only solution. Due to the lockdown, schools have been closed for nearly 15 months, and parents with poor backgrounds treat girl children as a burden and look to shift responsibility. If schools are functional, a friend or teacher may notify authorities.”

(Childline operates a toll free helpline 1098 for children in distress across the country.)

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