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 Child Marriage Averted in Meerut

CHILDLINE 1098 Service » 1098 News » Child Marriage Averted in Meerut

Child Marriage Averted in Meerut

India is home to the largest number of child brides in the world. It is an appauling human rights violation robs children of the right to be just a child. Despite this practice being outlawed, child marriage proves to be one of the worst social evils in our country.

Mawana Khurd, Meerut: 14 year old Abha (name changed) was kept all ready for her big day, against her wishes. Her marriage was fixed by her father, Santar Pal, a labourer and her mother, Vimlesh, a house wife. Hailing from a poor family Abha was being forced into the marriage as it was customary in their village.

CHILDLINE received a call the afternoon of 16th July, 2013 informing them about Abha’s wedding which was to take place the very next morning. With next to no time in hand CHILDLINE immediately contacted the officer in-charge at the Mawana Police Station to take some action and to intercede in the case. Yet, the caller who reported about the marriage informed CHILDLINE that the police was doing nothing to put an end to the upcoming marriage.

Without wasting any time, CHILDLINE then contacted the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) for their help, and presented the case to them in writing. On the basis of this, the CWC in Meerut ordered the Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) to carry out an enquiry and take appropriate action. However, this order was given very late in the evening when AHTU offices were shut for the day. Since this proved to be an obstacle in averting the marriage, CHILDLINE met with police officials of higher positions to seek their urgent assistance. To their dismay, no concrete action was taken. In the face of all these obstacles, CHILDLINE continued their follow-ups and approached the media.

The noise created by the media around Abha’s marriage was able to garner an effective response from the police as well as the local administration. They were left with no option but to pay attention to the situation at hand and act immediately.

The morning of 17th July, 2013 a team consisting of the AHTU and the Mawana police along with CHILDLINE arrived at the location of Abha’s marriage. She was rescued at the nick of time in the midst of all the wedding preparations.

Her school report card and ration card were collected as proof of her age. The AHTU submitted a report declaring Abha to be a minor which helped in stopping her marriage.

CHILDLINE is in the process of having her enrolled in a school so that she can continue her education and work towards a career before settling down in a marriage.A much needed counselling session was also arranged for the child wherein she stated that she was under tremendous pressure from her parents to get married.

CHILDLINE continues to be in constant contact with Abha as well as her parents for further counselling sessions and to ensure a safe and happy childhood for Abha.