Guwahati: In the massive drive against child marriage, Assam police have arrested 4,074 offenders, including 60 Qazis. The arrests were mostly made from central and lower Assam districts with maximum illegal migrant Muslim populations.
The Assam police have registered 4074 cases regarding child marriage in Assam, and these arrests are made on those cases across the State.
More than 8,000 accused were named in the 4,074 cases registered, including Islamic Qazi, maulana, and a few purohit. Most of these child marriages occurred in the lower Assam districts of Dhubri, Barpeta, Darrang Biswanath Chariali, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and Central Assam district of Nagaon and Morigaon. All these districts have a large population of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
The Assam Government, in a cabinet decision on January 23, instructed police to act against men who married girls below the age of 14 years under the POCSO act 2012 and apprehend those who married girls between the age group of 14 to 18 under the prohibition of the Child Marriage Act 2006.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on February 6 said, “Our drive against child marriage is for public health & public welfare as teenage pregnancy ratio in Assam is quite alarming – 16.8 per cent. We’re resolved to continue this drive until we fulfil our objective. I urge the people to cooperate with us in controlling this harmful trend.”
The Government of India reports that the teenage pregnancy rate in the illegal migrant Muslim populous district Barpeta is 28.7 per cent, Dhubri 27.9 per cent, Goalpara 24.1 per cent, Goalpara 22.3 per cent, Kokrajhar 21.9 per cent, Darrang 21.1 per cent and Morigaon 20 per cent. Teenage pregnancy is a major factor in the State’s high mother and newborn mortality rate.