On February 2, 2023, the Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati said that the government is firm in its resolve to end the menace of child marriage in the state.
Urging the people to cooperate in the initiative, the Assam CM said that the action on the 4,004 registered cases would begin on February 3.
Taking to Twitter, Assam CM Sarma said: “Assam Govt is firm in its resolve to end the menace of child marriage in the state. So far @assampolice has registered 4,004 cases across the state and more police action is likely in days ahead. Action on the cases will begin starting February 3. I request all to cooperate.”
As per the data shared by the CM, most child marriage cases were registered in the Dhubri District (370) and the least in Hailakandi.
A total of 123 cases were registered in Bongaigaon, 35 in Cachar, 125 in Darang, 75 in Dibrugarh, 157 in Goalpara, 255 in Hojai, 80 in Kamrup, 204 in Kokrajhar, 113 in Nagaon, 224 in Morigaon, and 110 in Tamilpur amongst others.
Recently, the Assam CM announced that the state government would launch a massive crackdown across the state to stop cases of child marriage.
The protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012 defines a child as an individual under the age of 18 and it criminalises sex between an under-age child and an adult.
Cases will be registered under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, if the bride is between 14 to 18 years old, the chief minister said addressing a press conference last month.
On January 28, the Chief Minister said that women should not wait too long for embracing motherhood and suggested embracing motherhood at the appropriate age between 22-30 years.
“It may lead to medical complications if it is delayed. The appropriate age for embracing motherhood is 22-30 years,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Sarma’s statement had come against the backdrop of his announcement of a crackdown on child marriage. He cited child marriages as the reason behind the prevalence of child pregnancy, which leads to high rates of maternal and infant mortalities in the state.
After distributing appointment letters to over 1,200 candidates of the Health and Family Welfare department and Assam police during a programme held at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati, the Chief Minister said while addressing the gathering that, the state government is committed to stopping underage marriages and motherhood.
“In the next 5-6 months, thousands of husbands will be arrested 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. Those who marry younger girls below 18 years will also be brought to book,” Sarma stated.