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COVID pandemic sees spurt in child marriages in Chittorgarh

Udaipur : The COVID pandemic persisting since a year is being seen as one of the reasons behind spurt in child marriage cases in Chittorgarh. Child activists claim that despite strict vigil on child marriages by the police and district administrations,judiciary people are still secretly organising weddings of their minor children especially girls. In past 30 days,11 incidents of child marriages were reported to the Chittorgarh child line, 3 of them were found false while 8 marriages were averted, luckily by the timely intervention of authorities.Of these eight weddings, 6 were of minor brides and two under aged grooms.

Bhojraj Singh, director of ChildLine at Chittorgarh says the pandemic is a major reason for the spurt in child marriages despite strict lockdown and movement restrictions. SInce the schools have being shut, no mid-day meals, and jobs being lost, several parents from a weaker economic background opt to marry off their girl child. On April 22, two minor girls were being married off in Dungla block.The girls were of 12 and 15years but the childline and police teams managed to timely intervene and thus avert the event.

“On April 25 in a village under Badi Sadri police station, a 20 year old boy was being married but the program was cancelled and his parents were warned by the officials” Bhojraj said. In Bhadesar, a 15 year old girl’s marriage was called off while a 17 year old girl whose marriage was fixed for May 7, was averted when the officials reached the spot on time and warned the host. District Legal Service Authorities across Rajasthan too are getting stricter and keeping keen watch on such incidents. Helplines are working 24×7 where informers can report incidents of child marriages that come to their knowledge. 

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