2k Arrests in Assam Prompt a Nationwide Child Marriage Crackdown

Assam’s government started a massive crackdown on child marriages on Saturday when 2,257 people were arrested. Women in Assam came out to protest. From Afrida Hussain: Saturday, a lot of women came out to protest the arrests of their husbands and sons by the Assam government, which was cracking down on child marriages in a big way.

Tensions rose in Dhubri district after police used a lathi charge on a group of women who had gathered in front of the Tamarha Police Station. They were demanding the release of their family members. The crackdown that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said would happen across the whole state began on Friday and will last for the next six days.

So far, police have caught 2,257 people. “Why just take the guys? How will we or our kids stay alive? Niroda Doley, who is 55 and from the Majuli district, told PTI, “We have no way to make money.” A woman from the Barpeta district who didn’t want to give her name said that her son had run away with a girl who was underage. “He did something wrong, but why is my husband in jail?” she asked.

“My daughter-in-law was 17 when she got married,” said Monowara Khatoon of Morigaon. Now she is 19 and five months pregnant. Who will take care of her? So far, more than 2,000 people have been arrested, and 4,004 cases have been filed. The police said that they have a list of 8,000 people who are suspected and that the search will go on.

The police have arrested 51 purohits and Kazis who did these kinds of wedding ceremonies in places of worship. Biswanath district has had the most arrests with 137, followed by Dhubri with 126, Baksa with 120, Barpeta with 114, and Kokrajhar with 96.

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The state cabinet recently decided that people who marry girls younger than 14 will be charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act. People who marry girls between 14 and 18 will be charged under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, of 2006.

CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said he has told the police to show “zero tolerance” for crimes against women that are “unforgivable and heinous.” Assam has a high rate of death among both mothers and babies. Child marriage is the main cause of this, as an average of 31% of marriages registered in the state are between people under the age of 18.

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