None to wipe tears of rural Telangana’s child brides….

None to wipe tears of rural Telangana’s child brides….
Highlights

Even as the Central and State governments are making tall claims on measures taken to empower girl children, in rural Telangana, girls children are forced into marriages at very young age, thus depriving them of lives of their dreams. 

Adilabad: Even as the Central and State governments are making tall claims on measures taken to empower girl children, in rural Telangana, girls children are forced into marriages at very young age, thus depriving them of lives of their dreams.

Parents in certain communities are allegedly encouraging child marriages in Adilabad, Asifabad, Nirmal and Mancherial districts and are bent on sending their wards to in-laws houses rather than schools. Against the mandatory marriage age of 18 years, the elders are forcing their daughters in 12-14 years age group to enter into wedlock putting their lives in jeopardy.

According to a college lecturer Santosh, people of some communities prefer to perform marriages of their minor wards treating them as a burden. Their apprehension is that if the girl grows up, they have to shell down more money towards dowry.

Mainly, students of eighth and ninth class girls in Bellampalli, Nirmal, Lakshmanchanda, Tanduru are often becoming victims of the heinous practice. Turning a deaf ear to the pleadings of these girls, elders are insisting on performing the child marriages. As a result, the girls, for want of maturity of mind, are facing hardships in sustaining their relationships. Their lives are in peril and hence facing problems.

In tribal areas, child marriages are common because of lack of awareness on adverse impact of such marriages. Wherever the girls opposed the child marriages vehemently, they are under the State government’s rehabilitation centres and are pursuing education.

The elders are not just paying attentions to the girls’ pleadings, but are forcing them into marriages. The girls who are not well-versed with relationships are forced to enter into the wedlock.

Aged persons from Maharashtra and Rajasthan are luring the tribals with money and marrying girls from the tribal thandas. The girls are facing a lot of problems in new States and are unable to bear the harassment meted out to them at the hands of their aged husbands.

In Asifabad and Adilabad, trafficking of girls by organised gangs has been reported. Minor girls are allegedly being traded for the purpose of marriage. Tribal rights leader Bhujanga Rao demanded that the State government take action against such culprits.

Many of the child marriages in the four districts are not coming to light as they are performed in secrecy. When the girl vehemently opposes such a marriage, then only the child marriages are getting public attention.

It is also alleged that Anganwadi ayahs and activists are turning a blind eye to such marriages. According to Child Rights Monitoring Officer Rajendra Prasad, during 2012 to 2016 a total of 122 child marriages were reported from Adilabad, Asifabad, Nirmal and Mancherial districts.

He threatened to take stringent action against anyone found performing child marriages. He said that awareness among people was essential to eradicate child marriages. The police, Anganwadi activists and Revenue officials are preparing themselves to sensitise villagers on the issue.

According to a survey conducted by civil society organisations, in Bellampalli Assembly constituency, child marriages are occurring among the Kurmis, a shepherd community. Sheep-rearers go to far-off places to graze the sheep and none knows when they return home. Therefore, they consider it right to perform the girl’s marriage before leaving the place.

In Nirmal region, child marriages are a common phenomenon in the Budagajangalu community. Civil rights organisations have been appealing to the State government to sensitise them on the ill-effects of the child marriages and take stringent action against those who encourage such marriages.

By Thotla Chinna Anjaiah

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