Notwithstanding the claims of the state administration about the prevention of the child marriages, the villagers changed their modus operandi and hundreds of the minor girls and boys tied their nuptial knot on the auspicious occasion of the Akha Teej in Rajasthan.
The government officials' reports said that the police did prevent villagers in half a dozen districts from solemnising the child marriages after getting information through intelligent network.
Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said "the villagers changed their modus operandi this year as police had mounted pressure on them. They even changed the venues which were located in the interior areas."
"But the state administration backed by the police managed to stop hundreds of child marriages which is commendable and creditable," the home minister said.
In Baran district, 25-years-old bridegroom landed in jail as his marriage was caught by the police during the marriage ceremony.
Tehslidar Brij Mohan Bairwa told
that KanyiaLal's 8-year-old daughter Aleskhna was being married off to a deaf and dumb Makhan Lal Meena, which was stopped by the police.
According to the SDM, Ajmer, Ashu Choudhary "at times, the marriages are secretly solemnized by the villagers at unidentified places. The minors are married off in a group under one roof which makes it impossible for the police to trap them."
She said, "two communities including Gurjar and Rawat indulged in solemnizing the child marriages and it is a centuries old tradition."
District officials said that Bhinay, Masooda and Pushkar are the areas in Ajmer where two hundred child marriages were solemnized.
In Jodhpur district, seven marriages were solemnized in the minority community in the village Binjrad and reports of dozens of child marriages were received from Barmer district also.
Sociologist Rajiv Gupta said, "it is the continuation of the institution of Patriarchy which establishes the supremacy of the males in the family. It must be dismantled to control the child marriages."
Gupta said "in an agrarian society, females are considered as part of an overall support system which is dominated by the males. The early marriages will give little chance to the girl child to grow which suits the male members of the family."
Former chairperson women commission, Pawan Surana said "the present government could not stop the solemnizing of the child marriages which took place in hundreds in various districts in Rajasthan."
(with inputs from Ajmer, Jodhpur and Kota)