• Monday, March 20, 2023


India’s Assam launches massive crackdown over child marriage; over 1,800 arrested: ‘Zero tolerance’

Representational Image (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

India’s north-eastern state of Assam on Friday (3) witnessed a massive crackdown on child marriage resulting in arrests of more than 1,800 people, state chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The crackdown was launched early in the day and will continue over the next few days, it was leant.

Sarma, who belongs to prime minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said in a tweet that he asked the state’s police to ace against the menace with a “spirit of zero tolerance”.

“State wide arrests are presently underway against those violating provisions of Prohibhiton of Child Marriage Act . 1800 + have been arrested so far. I have asked @assampolice to act with a spirit of zero tolerance against the unpardonable and heinous crime on women,” he said in his social media post.

Assam Police were probing more than 4,000 cases of child marriage registered across the state in less than a fortnight, Sarma said on Thursday (2), declaring that the crackdown would begin the following day.

“Assam Govt is firm in its resolve to end the menace of child marriage in the state. So far @assampolice has registered 4,004 cases across the state and more police action is likely in days ahead. Action on the cases will begin starting February 3. I request all to cooperate,” he tweeted.

Sarma’s government has decided to charge men who marry girls below 14 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POSCO) Act, while those who married teenage girls between 14 and 18 will be held under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

The chief minister, who belongs to a Hindu right-wing party, said that the “war” against child marriage will be “secular” and no single community would be targeted.

“Those who facilitate such marriages, like clerics and priests, will also face action,” he said.

Assam has a high rate of maternal and infant mortality and child marriage is held as a primary cause.

“The main reason for the high infant mortality rate and Maternal Mortality Ratio is child marriage. The state has an average of 31 per cent of marriages in the prohibited age,” the chief minister added.

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