Child marriages

“Child marriage is a gross violation of all categories of child rights.”

A report by the UNICEF revealed that 82 percent of girls in Rajasthan are married before they are 18, 15 percent of girls in rural areas across the country are married before 13 and a major 52 percent of girls have their first pregnancy between 15 and 19.

By the Indian law, it is illegal to allow or facilitate marriage of a boy under 21 and a girl under 18. Amongst all the states in India, it is Rajasthan that tops the list with the average age of a girl at marriage being 16.6 years, closely followed by Bihar (17.2 years) and Madhya Pradesh (17 years).

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“Nobody should expect the evil of child marriage to be eradicated overnight or just by launching an awareness drive”, states Archana Chitnis, State Minister for Women and Child Development.

According to Renuka Chowdhury, Minister for Women and Children, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Bill, passed in 2006, is likely to provide protection to scores of children forced into marriage every year.

One surely wonders what is it that is likely to wake up the authorities to some real, constructive and result-oriented action.

A set of even more startling research reports and studies, coupled with a genuine outcry from the child welfare organizations and the public perhaps!