Assam Launches Massive Crackdown On Child Marriages, Over 4,000 Cases Registered, 1,800 Arrested
The Assam Police registered 4,004 cases and arrested over 1,800 people on Friday in a massive crackdown against child marriages in the state.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the crackdown began early in the morning of Friday across the state and will continue over the next three to four days.
Crackdown to continue
The police had registered 4,004 cases of child marriage in less than a fortnight since the state cabinet decided on January 23 to take action, with the arrest of offenders and a simultaneous launch of an extensive awareness campaign.
The chief minister said the crackdown was continuing and a clear picture will emerge by evening on the number of arrests and the districts from where those were made.
The highest number of 136 arrests so far has been made in Dhubri, where 370 cases have been registered, followed by 110 in Barpeta and 100 in Nagaon.
Accused to be booked under POCSO Act
Those having married girls below 14 years of age will be booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and cases under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 will be registered against those who have married girls in the 14-18 years, age group, the CM said adding that they will be arrested and the marriages will be declared illegal.
The CM also said that whoever married a minor previously or now will be held during the ongoing crackdown.
Family, priests will also be booked
If the boy is also below 14 years of age, he will be sent to a reform house, as minors cannot be tried in court.
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The priests, kazis and family members involved in the conduct of such marriages will also be booked, Sarma had said earlier.
“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,” the CM said in a Tweet.
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
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) February 3, 2023
Child marriage in Assam
The Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, criminalises sex between an underage child (under 18) and an adult.
Assam has a high maternal and infant mortality rate, with child marriage being the primary cause, as an average of 31 per cent of marriages registered in the state are at the prohibited age, according to reports of the National Family Health Survey.
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