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Assam Police arrests 2044 in illegal child marriage cases, number of complaints and accused rises to 4074 and 8000 respectively

According to the reports, a total of 4074 cases have been filed against families, Kazis and pujaris involved in child marriage. Further, the police say that there are around 8000 accused, of which 2044 have already been arrested.

In a sweeping crackdown on child marriage in Assam, the police arrested around 2,044 people including 57 Kazis and Pujaris for their involvement and alleged participation in child marriage on Friday. The government earlier stated that there are more than 4074 cases filed amid the campaign and actions will be taken against the accused, further declaring such marriages as illegal. 

“We have a list of 8,000 named accused and so far we have arrested only 2,044 people. The drive against child marriage will continue over the next three to four days and after we get all the data, a proper district-wise analysis can be done,” Director General of Police G P Singh said on Friday.

Besides members of families that married off their minor children, the police have detained 57 ‘purohits’ and ‘Kazis’ who performed such wedding rites in religious institutions, the DGP said. 

He stated that the arrests were made after verifying information obtained from family members, the child welfare society, local residents, and police officers. “We will follow the law, perform thorough investigations, and file charge papers,” Singh confirmed. 

According to the reports, a total of 4074 cases have been filed against families, Kazis and pujaris involved in child marriage. Further the police say that there are around 8000 accused, of which 2044 have already been arrested. The DGP added that a few people have absconded since the police began taking action in these cases on Friday. “Efforts are underway to find these absconding people and nab them,” he added.

Giving a district-wise break up of cases filed, Himanta Biswa Sarma earlier informed that action on the cases would begin from February 3, and accordingly, police started arresting people named in the cases from last night itself. The CM also informed that more cases are likely to be filed by the police in the coming days.

According to the data provided by the CM, among the 4004 cases, the largest number, 370, has been registered in the Dhubri district. Following that are 255 in Hojai, 235 in Uddalguri, 224 in Morigaon, 204 in Kokrajhar, and 192 in Guwahati. Hailakandi has the lowest case with just 1.

The crackdown on child marriage was started after the Assam govt in a January 23 cabinet meeting announced that strict measures will be implemented across the state to keep a check on the spike in child marriages in the state. The government had said that legal action against men who marry girls below 14 years of age would be initiated under the POCSO Act and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. Similarly, action will be taken under the prevention of child marriage act in cases where the age of the bride is between 14 and 18 years.

The cabinet also decided to designate all 2,197 Gram Panchayat Secretaries to as ‘child Marriage Prevention (Prohibition) officers’ under The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 to reduce Infant Mortality Rate & Maternal Mortality Rates and prevent child marriages in rural areas. The CM said that the move was based on a thorough discussion of the National Family Health Survey (NHFS) 5 by the state government.

Earlier even as Assam police started nabbing people accused in child marriage cases, some people attempted to flee from the state. 58 people heading towards Kerala in a bus were detained yesterday by the police in Rupahi. Similarly, many Qazis accused of performing the marriage of minors have disappeared from several places.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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