GUWAHATI: Incidents of child marriage are on the rise in Assam, that too, with quite aged males. The trend in the past three years is alarming as the menace keeps on rising every successive year.
According to the Social Welfare Department in the State, there were 32 cases of child marriage in 2015-16, 96 cases in 2016-17 and 317 in 2017-18. Over 150 such cases have been registered till now in 2018-19.
Talking to The Sentinel, an official of the Social Welfare Department said: “Prevalence of child marriage is more in districts like Barpeta, Cachar, Karbi Anglong, Lakhimpur and some others. The need of the hour is awareness in society against child marriage. From our end, we distribute leaflets, pamphlets, advertisements in the media, holding workshops etc. Parents should know or be made to know the ill effects child marriage.”
Railway Childline caught over 370 married children from Guwahati Railway Station from April 2018 to January 2019. “Most of the children don’t know what marriage is. They’re vulnerable at the hands of their aged husbands who may even sell them,” she said, and added: “After catching such children we try our best to normalize them. We take them to our outreach programmes.”
An official from the UNICEF said: “This is not a new problem. In fact, it’s a lingering problem. Oddly enough, we’ve progressed a lot in education. Today’s citizens are considered conscious ones. However, even now such incidents are happening. There’re even areas where cases such child marriage aren’t registered. The government should take more initiatives so as to put an end to such problems.”
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