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Assam’s crackdown on child marriage: Woman dies by suicide fearing parent’s arrest

Amid the new crackdown on child marriages by the Assam police, a mother of two kids died by suicide in the South Salmara-Mankachar district, fearing the arrest of her parents for marrying her before she turned 18.

Khusbu, a resident of Jhaudaanga East Village in Mankachar district, allegedly took her life on the intervening night of 04 February.

In 2012, she was married at the age of 15 to Manoj Miya of Jurdunga village. He passed away during the first wave of Covid-19 according to a villager. Since then Khusbu and her kids were taken care by her father, Khaledur Rashid.

Speaking to local media, the father alleged she was upset by the crackdown that has triggered anxieties across the marginalised groups.

However, the Superintendent of police of South Salmara district, Horen Tokbi, denied that her death is related to the government’s drive against child marriage.

He told reporters, “She could have done it due to other issues related to her family. We cannot relate it to the Assam police’s drive against child marriage. We’ll investigate the matter further.”

Her body is sent for post-mortem.

The massive crackdown on child marriage that began on 03 February arrested over 2100 people of different ages, including 52 priests or qazis and some women. This comes after the state government decided to act on this issue in a decision taken on January 23.

The police said they have a list of almost 8,000 accused. Most of the people booked are from marginal groups like Muslims and tribals.

The Assam government has directed police to act even if the marriage have happened years ago. Some disturbance due to protests is also reported in different towns.

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