Child marriages: Haryana girls continue to be victimised - The Tribune India

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Child marriages

Haryana girls continue to be victimised

Child marriages

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo

THAT as many as 39 complaints of child marriage have been received since April 2021 in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district alone is a pointer to both the persistence of this social evil as also the state government’s efforts to prevent it. It is encouraging that of these 39 cases, counselling of parents led to the cancellation of 18 marriages and one was put off through a court injunction. However, what is disturbing is that 10 marriages were solemnised despite the counselling and the law prohibiting child marriage. There would be many other cases that were not reported to the authorities.

Even as the daughters of Haryana are bringing glory to the country by excelling in various fields, particularly sports, the menace of child marriage is a sad reflection on society’s patriarchal mindset. Girls continue to be seen as a ‘burden’ on the family or a potential cause of ‘loss of honour’ if they elope with boys. The National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21) reveals that nearly 29 per cent of the girls were married before they turned 18 in Nuh, 24 per cent in Palwal and 21 per cent in Gurugram. This practice is fraught with health concerns related to high-risk pregnancy, poor maternal health, malnourishment and high infant mortality rate.

Adding to the victims’ woes is the dubious role of the police. The conviction rate under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act is poor in Haryana — during 2019-21, conviction took place in just one case. Fighting the cases is a long-drawn-out ordeal. It would be prudent to take action against the priests who solemnise such weddings rather than re-victimise the girls by sending their husbands or other family members to jail. In addition, the masses must be sensitised to the grave issue and the problem highlighted in schools to increase awareness among students.



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