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Assam to crack down on child marriages; over 4,004 cases registered

Those having married girls below 14 years of age will be booked under POCSO

Himanta Biswa Sarma Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma | PTI

The Assam government will launch a massive crackdown from Friday on child marriage, arresting offenders and also undertaking extensive awareness campaigning, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Police have registered 4,004 cases of child marriage in less than a fortnight.

Those having married girls below 14 years of age will be booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and cases under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 will be registered against those who have married girls in the 14-18 years age group.

They will be arrested and the marriages will be declared illegal.

If the boy is also below 14 years of age, he will be sent to a reform house as minors cannot be tried in the court.

"Assam Govt is firm in its resolve to end the menace of child marriage in the state. So far @assampolice has registered 4,004 cases (of child marriage) across the state and more police action is likely in days ahead. Action on the cases will begin starting February 3. I request all to cooperate," the CM tweeted.

Sarma chaired a virtual meeting with the superintendents of police in the presence of Director General of Police G P Singh on the state-wide police action.

He appealed to the people to extend support and cooperation to rid the state of the evil practice.

Assam has a high rate of maternal and infant mortality, with child marriage being the primary cause as an average of 31 per cent of marriages registered in the state are in the prohibited age, according to reports of the National Family Health Survey.

Of the 4,004 cases of child marriage registered recently, the highest was reported in Dhubri (370), followed by Hojai (255) and Udalguri (235). Hailakandi district in Barak Valley registered only one case.

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