In a proactive step, the Rachakonda police on Wednesday prevented a child marriage that was to take place within Hyderabad city limits on Saturday.
The 15-year-old class ten student was to be married off by her adoptive parents to a 23-year-old car mechanic from the same locality. The child has since then been rescued by the police and sent to a children's home in the city.
The Malkajgiri SHE team visited the home of the girl along with members of child rights group, Balala Hakkula Sangham on Wednesday. The police have booked cases against the adoptive parents of the girl child under the Child Marriages Prohibition Act-2006.
“We got to know that a child marriage is taking place on October 20 and the groom was to be 23-year-old Rajesh. We stopped the marriage and later shifted the girl to a children's home at Kachiguda,” said Achutha Rao, president, Balala Hakkula Sangham.
“The Women and Child Welfare department will now take a call on the matter. The adoptee parents will be called in for counselling and they will be made to promise that the girl goes back to school. Only then they will hand back the girl to the parents,” he added.
Mahesh M Bhagwat, Commissioner of Police, Rachakonda, in a press release issued on Wednesday appealed to the public not to conduct marriages of those below the legal age of 18.
The Commissioner pointed out that performing marriage for those below the stipulated age is a crime and warned that priests, wedding card printers, elders, supporters of the marriage and parents of the child will be booked under the Child Marriages Prohibition Act-2006 for permitting, supporting, performing, helping and even attending child marriages.
A minimum 2 years imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine is the punishment if found convicted under the said Act. Even mediators can also be held responsible, he added.
Police also requested the public to inform about any child marriages if they notice by dialling 100 or to reach out to the Rachakonda Police Whatsapp number 9490617111 for reporting such offences.