The two Telugu states combined have the second highest instances of child marriage in the country.

15 year old AP girl escapes forced marriage to govt officers son
news Child Marriage Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 17:01

Swathi, a 15-year-old resident of Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, was forced to get married to a 25-year-old, the son of Village Revenue Officer, Venkat Narayana, on November 14.

 “I want to study more, I don’t want to get married,” was the first thing the 15-year-old reportedly said when she was rescued.

 “Venkat made a fake birth certificate for Swathi saying she is a 20 year-old, but when we checked it with the Anganwadi workers, we got to know that she is only 15 and studying in class 8,” said Achyuta Rao, a child rights activist.

He also alleged that being a revenue officer, Venkat's duty included safeguarding the welfare of children and the rest of the village, and so, his involvement in the case has become a matter of concern for society.

On November 13, the police, with the help of the collector, stopped the wedding.

“The girl’s uncle informed the police about the marriage. Investigation is still going on in this matter,” said Sarala Devi, ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services Scheme) officer.

This incident shows the plight of many girls in both the Telugu states where several female children become victims of child marriage.

“Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together have the second highest number of child marriage cases. It is one of the biggest social problems,” Achyuta Rao said.

It was reported that over 120 child marriages were stopped in the four western mandals of Bangarupalem, Palamaner, Gangavaram and Peddapanjani in Chittoor district alone in 2014 and 2015.

However, the Women Development and Child Welfare (WD & CW) officials have claimed that while 33% of minor girls (below 18 years) were pushed into marriage, the number was going up due to lack of coordination among the Endowments, WD&CW, Police and the Revenue officials.

 

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