02/06/2023, 16.26
Send to a friend

Police cracks down on child marriage, but others see it as a publicity stunt

More than 2,400 people have been arrested in connection with the state government crackdown on child marriage, which is commonplace among Muslims. Many families are protesting in the streets. Opposition groups complain that the state has not opened enough schools to counter the practice.

Guwahati (AsiaNews) – In Assam, State authorities continue their crackdown on child brides. Led by Chief Minister Himanta Biswas Sarma, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), police have arrested 2,441 people so far.

Although Indian law bans marriage under the age of 18, the law is largely ignored; and according to estimates, at least 20 per cent of all marriages involve at least one person under age.

In Assam, one of India’s poorest states, the law particularly affects Muslims, who are supposed to be exempt under the Muslim Personal law, which allows marriage after puberty.

Under Chief Minister Sarma,  Assam has been pushing for a uniform civil code that applies to all citizens; however, his critics are saying that he is using the child bride issue to attack the Muslim community.

Following the mass arrest of mostly men (husbands, fathers, marriage officials), women have taken to the streets to protest, complaining that their families will suffer from the detention of their main breadwinners.

Few believe the government will deliver on its promise to provide financial aid to the families of the arrested men.

In Dhubri, one of the districts with the highest number of arrests, police clashed with protesters, using tear gas.

For All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi, the state is just manipulating the issue.

“We are opposed to child marriage. But what will be the benefit of disrupting settled families, with grown-up children? It is nothing but a publicity stunt,” he said.

“Experts have said that if you want to stop child marriages, you have to open a lot of schools, [but] you have not done that. You have closed down the madrasas too which were imparting some form of education,” he added.

The Congress Party and the All India United Democratic Front have also criticised the state’s action.

Last year, the Indian government, which is controlled by the BJP, approved a bill that would raise the minimum age for marriage to 21 years.

Although the Indian parliament has not yet passed it, Muslims leaders slammed the proposed legislation, saying that it would violate Muslim Personal Law.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Synod for the Amazon: Card Stella hails the ‘great beauty’ of celibacy in a priest’s life
24/10/2019 17:56
Beijing imposes harsh sentences on Tibetan monks and lama
Court rules that a girl who’s had her first period can marry, thus backing Huma Younus’s kidnapper. For girl’s lawyer, this is shameful
05/02/2020 18:53
Dubious proposal to lower marriage age to 18
Child illiteracy and child labour are the continent's main social ills


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”