Nearly 50 Child Marriages Cancelled in Bihar Following Activists’ Intervention

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    Nearly 50 Child Marriages Cancelled in Bihar Following Activists’ Intervention

    With child marriage still being a big challenge in Bihar, a ray of hope has emerged in a village where, thanks to awareness, nearly 50 marriages of girls under the age of 18 were cancelled in the last one month, officials said.

    Like any other sleepy village, Narayanpur village in Supaul district was no different till last December as child marriage was not regarded as unusual. But things have changed after a 50 years old private coaching teacher of the same village reportedly married his 15-year-old student that proved a turning point for the villagers.

    “Villagers have decided to save girls from early marriage and allow them to pursue their studies. As a result, nearly 50 marriages of under eighteen years girls were cancelled,” Ram Lakhan Mandal, Sarpanch of Pipra Khurd Panchayat told NewsClick. Narayanpur village is part of this panchayat under Saraigarh Bhaptiyah police station.

    But this change of mindset among the villagers came after women rights campaigner Prashanti Tiwari from Gender Alliance, repeatedly addressed the panchayat meetings and asked the villagers to respect the law and save the future of young girls. Gender Alliance is an initiative of the United Nations Population Fund and was started to bring together civil societies, activists, academicians, researchers, media and others on a common platform to advocate gender equality.

    Local police station in-charge Brajesh Kumar said, “The private coaching teacher, Chandraprakash Mehta, was arrested by the police last month after Tiwari lodged a written criminal complaint against Mehta under IPC 376 and Prevention of Child Marriage Act for marrying his 15-year-old student.” As per the National Crimes Record Bureau, this was the first criminal complaint on child marriage in entire Bihar since 2014, a state that has an astounding rate of 40 per cent child marriages. About 20 per cent girls in the age group of 15-19 years in Bihar were married off before the age of 17 years, ...

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