Authorities were tipped off by Chennai-based Madras High Court lawyer Sudha Ramalingam

I am glad says 13-year-old from Tamil Nadu whose wedding was stopped by police
news Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 11:23

 

The day of her wedding reception turned out to be a happy day for a 13-year-old child in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu– the authorities managed to prevent it from happening.

Early on Tuesday morning district authorities went to Guruvarajapettai village where the child was being married off to her maternal uncle, and prevented the ceremony from being conducted.

Speaking to News 7 after the wedding was stopped, she said, “I am glad,” and added that she liked school.

Authorities were tipped off by Chennai-based Madras High Court lawyer Sudha Ramalingam who was informed of the wedding by an elderly relative of the child. Sudha told The News Minute that the girl was a student of Class 9, which was certified by the school.

“Since we did not have proof of age, we approached the school which gave us a bona fide certificate, which says that the girl is studying in Class 9B,” Sudha said.

While the wedding was scheduled for early Tuesday morning, a reception had been organized the previous evening. The whole village reportedly knew about it and the family had distributed invites to many.

The girl’s father told News 7 that he was unaware that child marriage was illegal only now and said that he would not attempt to get her married again.

Sudha said that the government must work harder to create awareness among people, and added that four or five of the girl’s classmates were already married.

“What is surprising is that in many cases, the girls are allowed to continue schooling after their married. They turn up to school wearing the mangalsutra. Shouldn’t they report such cases?” she said.

Child marriages in India

According to the 2001 census, there are 1.5 million girls in India, under the age of 15 already married. Of these, 20% or approximately 3,00,000 are mothers to at least one child.

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had the highest incidence of child marriage in the country in 2014.While Tamil Nadu reported 47 incidents during the year, Karnataka reported 44 instances under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, according to NCRB data, there were 280 reported instances in the country.

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