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No end to Child Marriage in Rajasthan

Jun 7, 2011

No end to Child Marriage in Rajasthan
The illegal practice of child marriage is rampant in Rajasthan. Those opposing it are either ostracised from villages or threatened.

A 5-year old girl from Farkiya village in Ajmer was married off to her 8- year old groom on May 16. But hers was far from the only child marriage that took place in the month of May in Rajasthan. In the same village, this government school allegedly was the venue of two child marriages.

While the teachers and eyewitnesses told CNN-IBN that two child marriages involving girl students from the same school were solemnized within the school premises along with one major couple, the police say they have no idea about any child marriages that have taken place in the entire village.

Besides these cases, in May, other minor couples post-marriage were brought to a temple in Ajmer after the festival of Akha Teej on May 6. The police say the couples came from adjoining areas that lie outside their jurisdiction, thus, washing their hands off their responsibilities.

Meanwhile, a man was ostracized from his village in Ajmer after the villagers suspected that he was an informer about a child marriage and he is now left with nowhere to go along with his family.

Six weeks ago, the state government issued strict instructions to the district administration to check child marriages on and around Akha Teej, but it now says it has no information about these marriages.

In several villages of Ajmer about half the girls are still married off before they turn ten, while child marriage continues to be a harsh reality for other young girls in Kota, Dungarpur, Barmer and Jahalawar, even as the government looks the other way.