The Madhya Pradesh directorate of women empowerment (DWE) claimed to have prevented 34 underage marriages in different districts, including one in Bhopal, on Tuesday, mainly by counselling the respective guardians.
Nine marriages were stopped in Damoh and 24 in Gwalior, the DWE claimed. Underage marriages are reported quite rampantly on Akshaya Tritiya — considered auspicious for weddings — that fell on Tuesday.
On Monday, four more marriages were stopped on the outskirts of Bhopal, the officials said.
In the state, 10.6% girls (14.1% in rural areas) are married off before they turn 18 and 21.3% males (28.4% in rural areas) before they are 21 years old, according to the Annual Health Survey (AHS) report of 2012-13.
Bhopal district empowerment officer Anurag Joshi told HT, marriage of an underage couple was prevented in Navjeevan Colony in the Chhola locality after they received a tip-off.
“Our team visited the venue and upon checking the documents found that the groom was only 20. So the marriage was stopped,” the officer said.
Earlier on Monday, the team of DWE prevented marriages of three underage girls and a boy in Bilkhiria village on the outskirts of Bhopal.
In one case, the girl was just over 17 years old, while in another the prospective bride was 16-and-half years, Joshi said.
In the third case where a family was planning to marry off daughter and son, the parents were unable to produce documents that they were major, the officer said.
Meanwhile, officials in Damoh claimed to have stopped nine minor marriages at two places in the district.
According to DWE officer Sanjeev Mishra, a team along with the police reached Badakpur village and Rohni village where it stopped eight and one minor marriages respectively.
In Gwalior, 24 marriages were stopped through counselling of the families.
District programme officer of the DWE Brijesh Kumar Tripathi said 20 marriages were prevented at the Mandwa ki Mata temple were mass marriages were solemnised, three at Mela Ground, and one in Bharthari village in Bhitarwar block.