When the Madhya Pradesh government launched Lado Abhiyan in 2013 to prevent child marriages in the state, little did it know that a few people in the district would use it to settle scores with their arch rivals.
Many flying squad members complain that many miscreants have raised false complaints of child marriages and the number of such fake cases has gone up to 50% in the last fortnight.
Mahendra Pathak, one of squad members, said the campaign had become a new weapon for miscreants, especially in rural areas, to settle disputes with their rivals.
“During the last fortnight, we got around 44 complaints from different villages. Out of the total number of complaints, about 22 turned out to be false,” he said.
Manjula Tiwari, deputy director (Indore division), women empowerment, said: “With the number of false complaints increasing, the department will now trace the phone numbers through which the complaints have been registered and take action against them.”
The state’s Lado Abhiyan, which was chosen for the Prime Minister’s Excellence in Public Administration Award 2013-14 six days ago, was started to prevent child marriages and make people aware of the Prevention of Child Marriage Act of 2006.
The campaign against child marriages is run throughout the year.
In Indore district, 10 flying squads comprising six members each have been formed to prevent child marriages.
The squad members have been drawn from different government departments.
The campaign has prevented several instances of child marriages in Indore district through counselling.
In a few cases, officials register FIRs when the parents and the family members of the minor bride and groom remain adamant on their decision.
Where - Ataheda village, Depalpur tehsil
When - April 23, 2015
The squad received a complaint on April 23 that two minor girls of Ataheda village, Depalpur tehsil, were getting married. But after reaching the spot, the squad members found that the girls were only engaged a month ago.
Investigation revealed that the girls were engaged to some boys earlier, but their family members called-off the engagement after they came to know that the family members of the grooms had furnished wrong information about the boys.
The boys or their family members could have lodged the false complaint to malign the brides and their family members.
Where - Hatod village, Hatod tehsil
When - April 24, 2015
The state government’s flying squad received a complaint on April 24 that two minor girls of Hatod village, Hatod tehsil were about to get married.
They immediately rushed to the village to prevent the wedding. They kept searching for the bride and the groom for eight hours, but in vain.
The flying squad members later found them in the village, but the wedding had never happened.