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March 30, 2023
Police in India have arrested over 2,000 men as they attempt to stamp out child marriages.
“We have so far arrested 2,169 men based on 4,074 registered police cases involving a total of about 8,000 men,” state police chief Gyanendra Pratap Singh confirmed.
Both Hindu priests and Muslim clerics were among those arrested for reportedly performing marriages for girls under 18 in the northeastern state of Assam, Indian police also confirmed.
Under Indian law, men can get married at 21-years old and women can get married at 18-years old.
News footage in India showed distraught young women holding babies in their arms protesting the arrests of their husbands.
One woman asked the media “We were struggling and somehow making ends meet. But we were happy together. Who will provide for our livelihood now that my husband has been arrested?”
State police chief Gyanendra Pratap Singh stated that child marriages were one reason behind Assam’s high infant mortality rate along with a higher-than-average number of mother’s dying after or during birth.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is Assam’s top elected official, said: “I have asked the Assam police to act with a spirit of zero tolerance against the unpardonable and heinous crime on women.”
Many cases of child marriages in Assam, a region which has over 35 million people, go unreported. (Associated Press)
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: UCA NEWS