Two minors allegedly tied the knot in Hyderabad a couple of days ago, but police intervened before they could consummate their wedding on Friday night.
Their parents have been remanded in police custody.
Police said S Anjaneya Sharma, a priest at the Lord Ganesh temple in Banjara Hills, got his 15-year-old son married to the 13-year-old daughter of Pantangi Ramesh Kumar Sharma, a priest at the Vemulawada temple in Siricilla district, on Thursday.
While the boy is a Class 10 student at a private school in Hyderabad, the girl studies in Class 9 at Vemulawada school – where her mother is a Hindi teacher. The function was reportedly conducted in accordance with the wishes of the boy’s parents because they believed it would help them overcome problems in the family.
After the wedding, the parents and the newly wedded couple proceeded to a veda pathashala – an institution that imparts education in religious texts – at Hayatnagar to conduct “further rituals”. P Achyuta Rao, convenor of child rights group Andhra Pradesh Balala Hakkula Sangham, said the parents had arranged for the children to consummate their wedding at the institution on Friday night.
“However, we managed to stop it with the help of the police,” Rao added.
Hayatnagar police have booked the children’s parents under Section 10 of the Prohibition of the Child Marriage Act, 2006. The legality of the marriage has also been brought under question.
“We are questioning them,” Hayatnagar inspector J Narender Goud told Hindustan Times, adding that the accused will be produced before a court on Monday.
Anjaneya Sharma reportedly told police that the wedding was performed as per Brahminical traditions, which stipulate that a girl should be married off before she attains puberty. “According to the tradition, ‘Ashta Varshaat Bhaveth Kanya (a girl can remain a spinster only for eight years)’. Our family has always followed this tradition. My own daughter was married off at thirteen,” he said.
The children were handed over to their respective families after counselling.