A 13-year-old girl about to be married to a boy of the same age was rescued by a team of social workers and Delhi Police recently from Bhanwar Singh Camp near Vasant Vihar.
The girl was being married off by the family allegedly to save on dowry. She hasn’t been to school for the past five years either.
Acting on a tip off, a team from the Centre for Social Research set off to identify the family after informing the local police.
“It took our team two hours to locate the family. Once located, our counsellors got their details which were then passed on to the police and the child welfare committee,” said an official from CSR.
According to the police, the girl, originally from West Bengal, was sent to a rehabilitation home. Parents were counselled and informed of the likely action in such a case. Since the wedding, scheduled on December 14, was prevented, no action was taken against them.
“The girl is back with her family. We are in the process of enrolling her in a school,” the official said.
Many such child marriages go unnoticed in Delhi’s slums and some rural areas as people in the same community prefer to let it happen peacefully.
“The problem of child marriage still exists in Delhi. We have often come across such cases in outer Delhi areas and rural pockets of Jaitpur, Tughlakabad, Okhla, Chhawla, Mubarakpur Dabas and Karawal Nagar. Such incidents happen more during Akha Teej,” said Rakesh Senger, who heads rescue operations at Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
The Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, 2006 states that anyone involved in organising a child marriage can be arrested.
“Many times, such cases are prevented with no action against the families. It has been seen that the families then move to another place to get their daughters married before they turn 18,” he added.
(With inputs from Karn Pratap Singh)