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Drive Against Child Marriage In Assam Will Intensify, Says Himanta Biswa Sarma

Drive Against Child Marriage In Assam Will Intensify: Himanta Biswa Sarma

He further said that only 98 people have got bail in such cases so far.

Guwahati:

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said the ongoing drive against child marriages in the state will be intensified.

Talking to reporters last evening, Mr Sarma said that the state government will eliminate child marriage by 2026. 

“The drive against this social menace will be intensified. I have today discussed this with District Collectors and Superintendents of Police across the state,” he said.

The Chief Minister claimed several people who had planned such marriages have now cancelled them. 

“People are coming and checking with the police if they can arrange the marriage as the bride has attained 18 years two months or three months. There is huge awareness now,” Mr Sarma said.

He further said that only 98 people have got bail in such cases so far, and the state will take strong measures to stop the practice.

The state government started its massive crackdown on child marriage from February 3. More than 3,000 people have been arrested so far, and are lodged in temporary jails.

The state cabinet had recently approved a proposal to arrest men who have married girls below 14 years of age under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).

The controversial move has drawn huge outrage, with even the Gauhati High Court questioning the inclusion of charges under the tough law to protect children from sexual crimes.

Affected women have decried the arrests of sole providers of their families.

The police action has been questioned because it has scoped out cases dating back years, and experts have also doubted the legality of applying POCSO in child marriage cases.

Opposition parties have criticised how the drive is being carried out, terming the arrests of teenage husbands and family members as an “abuse of law” for political gain, and equating the police action with “terrorising people”.

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