Secretary of DLSA, T Rajavenkatadri administering the oath to religious leaders to stop child marriages in Ongole on Monday (right) Religious leaders who participated the programme
Secretary of DLSA, T Rajavenkatadri administering the oath to religious leaders to stop child marriages in Ongole on Monday (right) Religious leaders who participated the programme

Ongole: The religious leaders play an important role in the control of child marriages and compulsory registration of marriages, said T Raja Venkatadri, the secretary of District Legal Services Authority and senior civil judge of Prakasam district.

He attended the programme on ‘Capacity building of religious and traditional leaders on issues of child marriages and compulsory registration’ as the chief guest, in Ongole on Monday. It was held by the HELP NGO, Childline and Girls Advocacy Alliance.

Speaking to the various religious leaders and community workers, Venkatadri said that it was the responsibility of the religious leaders to shun the child marriages irrespective of their caste and religion. He said that there was a huge influence of the religious leaders on the public and they were capable of bringing change in the mindset of common man and let the girl child educate in the safe society. He asked them to set up notice boards in their religious places discouraging child marriages and explaining the adverse effects of them on the families as well as society.

The Women and Child Welfare Department regional director T Srinivasa Rao, Brahmin Corporation district coordinator Kusumakumari, Chennakesava Swamy Temple priest Kalyana Chakravarthy Acharyulu, Muslim religious leader Abdul Rahim Khan and Peddaraveedu Mandal Pastors Association president B Sundaraiah took an oath to stop child marriages in their vicinity. 

The religious leaders opined that the poor families were looking at a girl child as a burden and they were trying to let her go through marriage as soon as she hits puberty. The maternal relationships, dowry and the security of a girl in society were also playing an important role in the increasing number of child marriages.