Chennai, September 26: Child marriage happens right in our city. A fourteen year old, class nine girl was rescued by the Kanchipuram child welfare committee from a marriage hall at OMR on Tuesday night. The groom S.Vijaykumar(25) was a real-estate contractor. He wanted to marry the girl in her quarterly exam leave since his father was not keeping well and wanted to witness his marriage.
Based on phone call received in the Childline helpline (1098) the team comprised of tahsildar, district social welfare officer, police officials and the child welfare committee members rushed to the marriage hall and called off the marriage. According to the Kanchipuram social welfare department almost 25 marriages were stopped in the last three years including eight marriages this year so far.
Speaking to me, CWC member I.Zaheeruddin Mohammed said, “When we arrived at the marriage hall, families of bride and groom and their relatives were frustrated and tried to convince us. We told them that it is illegal to perform underage marriage, they said the groom’s father was sick and wished to see his marriage. And both families were close relatives” He added when the team stoutly rejected all their pleas, the families agreed to stop the marriage.
The officials made the parents to give a letter in writing that they would not get the girl married before she attains 18 years. District child protection officer S.Dhanasekara Pandian said that several awareness programmes were arranged in anganwadi centers and other public places on child marriages. School children were encouraged to alert about child marriages, he said.