Schoolgirls save friend from underage marriage

Patna, India: The 15-year-old girl accompanied by 30 classmates rushed to a local police station on Tuesday and got the wedding deferred. The marriage was scheduled to be held later this month.

The family of Pinki Kumari, a resident of Tetaria village in southern Bihar’s Gaya district, fixed her marriage with with 22-year-old Kamlesh Kumar, a widower.

The Grade nine student is enrolled in a local government girls’ school. She was against this marriage as she wanted to study more. After mustering up courage, she requested her parents to postpone her marriage until she attained adulthood but they were adamant. They fixed the marriage for February 18 and even got wedding cards distributed among guests.

As wedding preparations were in full swing in her home, she shared her worries with her classmates who promised to stop her wedding at any cost. They immediately rushed to the local Barachatti police station and urged the station house officer Chetnanad Jha to stop this marriage saying she is under-age.

The police officer went to the girl’s village and held meetings with the villagers over the issue. “You must know that child marriage is an offence and you must follow the law,” the officer told the girl’s father Munna Prasad who agreed to defer this marriage. The man even promised to get his daughters married only when they attains adulthood, bringing cheers among the girl’s classmates.

“I have four daughters and the soaring inflation is quite worrying. So, I wanted to get her married off soon,” girl’s father told the police officer.

The local village council chief Madhuri Kumari has rewarded all the 30 girls saved their friend. Each girl was rewarded Rs100.

Officials and social scientists say the friends were outraged because of the growing awareness about the child marriage. Last month, the state government in Bihar claimed to have formed the world’s longest human chain against child marriage and dowry.

“This is a welcome change in the society. Continuing government campaigns are bearing fruit now,” the local Gaya district magistrate Abhishek Kumar Singh said. 


Image caption: Police officer holding meeting with the villagers in the presence of Pinki’s classmates at girl’s native village on Tuesday



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