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Karnataka Govt urged to declare Nov 1 as Anti Child Marriage Day

Karnataka Govt urged to declare Nov 1 as Anti Child Marriage Day
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Karnataka Govt urged to declare Nov 1 as Anti Child Marriage Day

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Child Rights Trust, Benaluru, has urged the State government to declare November 1 as Anti Child Marriage Day

Bengaluru: Child Rights Trust, Benaluru, has urged the State government to declare November 1 as Anti Child Marriage Day. It's on this day in 2006-07 the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 came into force to put an end to child marriages. The Act prohibits marriages between any girl below the age of 18 years and boys below the age of 21.

Karnataka also has the distinction of declaring all child marriages 'void ab initio'.

Executive Director, Child Rights Trust, Vasudeva Sharma N.V. said, "Child marriage is considered an 'end road' to most of the girls. It puts an end to all their dreams, aspirations and a meaningful future.

The girls subjected to child marriage continue to suffer sexual abuse in marriage. A Supreme Court judgment in 2017 declared 'sex with minor wife as rape' and struck down the exception provisions under the Sec. 276 in IPC. Girls who get married very early conceive very early and deliver children in a very precarious situation. Many of the girls would be anemic and their children also grow up in a malnourished stage resulting in stunting."

"Infant mortality, U5 mortality and maternal mortality for many are just a few numbers but are hindering the development of the nation. The early married girls lose out on education, health care and has to endure domestic violence, discrimination, economic dependency and also widow status. To raise awareness among the communities we request the Govt of Karnataka to declare Nov. 1st as Anti Child Marriages Day and carry out relevant programmes to reach out every individual in the state," he added.

India is a signatory to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2016-30, in which Goal 5.3 demands that the state parties should adhere to the clause of taking measures to end sexual discrimination and stop the practice of child marriages and sexual exploitation.

The day can be used to create awareness about the prohibitions as well as punishment one may have to face if they violate the Act.

A consortium of NGOs called IMAGE - Initiatives for Married Adolescent Girls' Empowerment is working in 5 districts of Karnataka and is raising awareness about the difficulties the early married girls are facing.

"We have submitted a memorandum to the Dept of women and Child Development which is the nodal agency for the implementation of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) 2006," Sharma stated.

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