Tamil Nadu

12-year-old girl forced to wed; parents, groom arrested

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She was forced to take the place of her elder sister, who rejected the groom

A twelve-year-old girl was back in her class (standard VII) at the Muthukalipatty Government Middle School in Rasipuram on Thursday, the day after her forced wedding to the groom meant for her elder sister.

Her father P. Ponnusamy (55), mother P. Selvi (40), of Adi Dravida Street in Muthukalipatty, and the groom Maariappan (22) have been arrested and sent to jail.

Rasipuram Police, who have registered a case, said the girl was forced into child marriage as her 18-year-old sister – the actual bride – refused to marry the groom about half-an-hour before the ceremony on Wednesday morning.

The original bride was in love with another youth and the girl’s parents allegedly forced her 12-year-old sibling to take her place.

The girl claimed that her parents threatened to end their lives if she refused. The wedding was solemnised at a temple at Muthukalipatty the same morning, Sub Inspector M. Nithya, who is investigating the case, said.

Some villagers came to know about the child marriage later in the day and informed revenue officials. They enquired and informed the police after the allegation was confirmed. The police waited for the parents and the newly wed who had gone to the groom’s house at Kalappanaickenpatti and arrested the trio when they returned.

District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO) P. Arulmozhidevi told The Hindu that the minor’s relatives removed her wedding chain (thali) and toe ring (metti) after the issue came to light.

“She dropped out after standard V about a year ago and was back to school only this year. She evinced interest in studying so we took her to school and asked the headmistress to give special attention. We also asked her classmates not to ask her about the marriage. Her progress will be closely monitored,” the DEEO said and a report on this issue was submitted to the Collector while steps are underway to admit her in a home for girls as her parents have been arrested.

Those arrested were booked under Sections 9 and 11 of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, which attracts a punishment of two years imprisonment or fine of Rs.1 lakh or both. Search is on for the boy’s father Chellamuthu (80) and mother Pachiammal (70).

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:31:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/12yearold-girl-forced-to-wed-parents-groom-arrested/article3659284.ece

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