Police rescued a 17-year-old minor girl who was being sold and married off by her father to a 50-year-old for Rs 30,000 in Latehar on Friday.
Superintendent (SP) of police, Anoop Birtharay dispatched a team of police officers to rescue the girl from Shiv Mandir at Latehar railway station locality after receiving a tip off.
Police arrested the groom, identified as Suresh Solanki from Bulandshaher in Uttar Pradesh after some local youth alerted them. The group suspected something was amiss when they saw the marriage being solemnised on Friday, which was an inauspicious day.
“The minor girl’s father, Gopal Thakur, in consultation with a woman who mediated with Solanki, had sold her for Rs 30,000 and was trying to marry her off with the man at a local temple when I was tipped off about the marriage being held,” Birtharay said.
The teenager, a class six dropout, was told she was being married into a wealthy family, but was unaware of the man’s age. She also told police that she wanted to continue studying but her parents did not support her. The girl’s family hailed from Kharcha village under the Latehar police station area.
“We will ensure that she continues her studies. We are making arrangements for her admission in the Kasturba Vidyalay,” Birtharay said, adding that a case had been filed against Thakur and the woman who negotiated the deal.
Latehar district is a rain shadow area in Jharkhand that gets very little precipitation. Given the tough agricultural life, child marriages and trafficking is becoming rampant. Scores of girls are sold every year, mostly by a family member or those close to the family.
Khurja in Bulandshahar district in UP, where the child bride hails from, is known for a skewered sex ratio of 840 females per 1,000 males. Locals are being forced to look for brides from around Jharkhand and even Bihar as the number of girls continues to decline.