Within a day after the Assam government launched a crackdown on child marriage, over 2000 men are arrested from across the state for allegedly marrying girls below 18 and booked under provisions of the POCSO Act and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
Police have registered 4,004 cases of child marriage in less than a fortnight after the crackdown was launched on Friday, 03 February.
“Altogether 2,211 people have been nabbed till this morning and 4,074 cases registered in connection with child marriage. The drive against child marriage to continue till 2026 Assembly election. A helpline will also be launched,” said Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
He earlier said the police will retrospectively book people who participated in child marriage in the last seven years and the focus will especially be on “mullahs, kazis and pujaris” conducting these marriages.
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.
The marriages will be declared illegal and If the boy is also below 14 years of age, he will be sent to a reform house.
Ripun Bora, President of Assam Trinamool Congress criticised the crackdown saying it has “wreaked havoc in the entire state”.
“Only immediate violators should be arrested instead of with retrospective effect,” Bora tweeted.