In India, patriarchy and poverty combine to form narrow cages for girls and women from where escape can seem impossible. And at 14, this young girl from Coimbatore has been pushed to experience the harshness of life within these dreary confines.
The girl, who comes from Kuniyamuthur in Coimbatore, was allegedly forced to marry a 25-year-old man because her mother believed her to be a burden. The mother, a construction worker, has separated from her husband and feared that the girl would elope with someone if she were not married off.
The groom, Karthik Kumar, is a painter and the marriage was arranged through a broker on the mother's initiative.
However, though news of the child marriage reached Childline, it was too late and the wedding had already taken place by the time they arrived at the spot.
â€śWe got information about the child marriage but we did not know the proper address. So, we went to the nearby police station and found the place where the reception for the marriage was taking place. When we reached Ananda Reception Hall, we found the groom, the girl, the broker and the girlâ€™s mother,â€ť said a child protection officer.
An FIR has been filed at the Kuniyamuthur police station under the Child Marriage Act. â€śPolice have arrested the girlâ€™s mother, broker and the girlâ€™s husband and remanded them to Central prison,â€ť the officer said.
The child protection officer said that the girl is currently with the Child Welfare Committee and that she will be sent to one of their shelter homes in Coimbatore.
The child protection officer opined that in most circumstances, it is the family's financial situation that pushes them to marry the girls off when they are still children. There is also considerable fear that the girls will fall in love with someone unsuitable and elope, leading to family disrepute.
In another case in Coimbatore, a 15-year-old girl was rescued before she could be married to a 38-year-old man at Senjerimalai on Monday. A complaint has been filed at the Sulur police station.
â€śIf the girl is rescued before the child marriage, a CSR (Community Service Register) is provided. Only if she is married, further action is taken by the police,â€ť said the child protection officer.