In an effort to combat child marriages in Assam, police have arrested more than 1,800 people from all over the state in Assam. And this can be seen as part of a major crackdown against the practice.
The Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, declared on Saturday that Assam government is dedicated to preventing child marriage and childbearing, and warned that thousands of husbands will be arrested in the next five to six months as sexual relations with a girl under 14 years of age is a crime.
State wide arrests are presently underway against those violating provisions of Prohibhiton of Child Marriage Act .
1800 + have been arrested so far.
I have asked @assampolice to act with a spirit of zero tolerance against the unpardonable and heinous crime on women
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) February 3, 2023
“Thousands of husbands will be arrested in the next five-six months as it is a crime to have sexual relations with a girl below 14 years of age, even if he is her legally wed husband,” Biswa Sarma said.
Potential risks posed to certain groups
In recent years, Assam has seen an increase in the prevalence of child marriage. Radical Islamists in the region have been marrying young girls, in order to produce more and more children. In response to this, the Assam government has taken concrete steps to put an end to this inhumane practice.
The Assam Chief minister has strongly cautioned against the practice of marrying girls under the legal age of 18 years, stressing that those found guilty of such violations will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, which may include life imprisonment.
“I have asked Assam police to act with a spirit of zero tolerance against the unpardonable and heinous crime on women,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a tweet.
Also Read: Bharat Ratna Bhupen Hazarika- The man who took Assam to the world
As per the reports, if the boy is under the age of 14, he will be referred to a residential rehabilitation program as young people who are not legally responsible cannot be held accountable in a court of law and the priests, kazis and other associated family members involved in solemnising such marriages will be held accountable. Sarma had previously indicated this.
In order to stop these types of marriages, The Assam police have registered a significant number of cases of child marriage in the last nine days, in accordance with the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). The total number of cases recorded is over 4,000.
These steps taken by the government certainly will start to show results, as the number of child marriages in the state has started to increase. We hope that these steps will be successful in completely eliminating the practice of child marriage from Assam.
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