Akshaya Tritiya — the most auspicious day for weddings in the Hindu calendar —is a nightmare for the Rajasthan police.
The problem is not the "band, baaja, baarat" that jams the traffic in every corner of the country. Here, at stake are the lives of thousands of children, whose parents choose to marry them off.
In the case of 17-year-old Jyoti from Udaipur, though, the parents failed to drag her to the altar. A student of class XI, Jyoti promptly shot off a letter to Laad Kumari Jain, chief of the state women’s commission, practically throwing cold water on the wedding biriyani.
Sub Divisional Magistrate Pushpendra Singh Shekhawat gave her his cellphone number so she can stop any future attempts to forcibly marry her off.
According to government officials, Jyoti was being forced to marry a far older man. "She said she wishes to complete her studies first," an official said.
Altogether, the Udaipur police managed to stop over 20 child marriages -- five in Vallabh Nagar, six in Salumber, six in Chirwa village and two in the heart of the city.
In Ajmer, a judicial magistrate issued notices to two families for trying to marry off four children. The brides were 4 and 5 years old and the grooms 7 and 12 years old.
In Bundi, the police stopped around 10 child marriages.
Three weddings were prevented in Kota. In fact, over the past month, the police had stopped 12 child marriages in the district, said Premlata Arora, deputy director, Women and Child Development department, Kota.