Child Marriage is still prevalent on a large scale in various states of India. This fact is known to all but caught everybody's attention by the brutal attack on an anganwadi worker Shakuntala Verma who dared to stop such a marriage in Banghar village near Bhopal. The census of 2001 highlights that nearly three lakh girls below 15 years of age are young mothers. Various studies have shown that the pregnancy complication is a prime factor contributing to female mortality in the age-group 15-19 years.
This grim situation and the attack on anganwari worker should be served as an eye-opener to government. It is true that the reforms attempting to change the deeply entrenched traditions and customs are met with resistance from the society. The main reasons being poverty coupled with illiteracy and ignorance. The reforms cannot be forced on the community and only through persistent efforts over the long period they can bring in the desired results. Every year thousands of children are married off on the auspicious Akha Teej day and in other communities as soon as the girls reach puberty in open defiance of Indian laws and under the nose of law enforcers and officials. The Child Marriage restraint Act 1929 is reduced to just a piece of legislation meant to be forgotten. It is important that the girls should get proper treatment in terms of health facilities and education for the country to prosper. But this is ignored by many who see girls as burden. A collective mindset to change the age-old obsolete traditions coupled with awareness building and strict enforcement of laws is what required to bring dignity to girl child.
From : Yuman Azad
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