Other States

Spike in child marriages, says Assam Social Welfare Department data

Cases of child marriage in Assam are on the rise, data provided by the State’s Social Welfare Department said.

Social Welfare Minister Ajanta Neog told the Assembly on August 10 that 3,192 child marriages were recorded from 2016-17 fiscal to the 2020-21 financial year.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had formed a coalition government in Assam with two regional parties in May 2016.

The data provided by the Minister said 74 child marriages were performed during 2016-17 followed by 448 during 2017-18 and 759 during 2018-19.

The child marriage figure jumped to 1,089 during 2019-20, the financial year when Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, then the Finance Minister, announced a gift of a ‘tola’ (11.34 grams) of gold for brides. The government had then said the golden gift was aimed at marital reforms and checking “underage marriage”.

The government also allocated ₹300 crore for the gold scheme called ‘Arundhati’ and set a few conditions for a bride to be eligible for the gold. These included mandatory registration of marriage.

“We have appointed child marriage prohibition officers under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006 to check child marriages. Village children protection committees are also being set up,” Ms. Neog said in a reply to a question by All India United Democratic Front MLA Ashraful Hussain.

Social Welfare Department officials said most of the cases of child marriage are reported from migrant Muslim-dominated areas, specifically the ‘char’ (river island) areas and from tea plantations.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 12:11:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/spike-in-child-marriages-says-assam-social-welfare-department-data/article35849909.ece

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