Timely intervention by the Barmer administration and police over the last couple of days thwarted at least 19 child marriages, including that of a 6-year-old minor on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya festival across the district, official said on Saturday.
Officials issued a stern warning to the parents of the children who were being married off and took undertaking from them saying that they will not marry off their children until they attain the marriageable age.
Akshaya Tritiya is considered an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar and a large number of children are married off on this day in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, especially in the rural belt.
To combat the wave of child marriages, which authorities feared would take place across the district on the occasion of Akshsya Tritiya, the administration set up a control room at the district headquarters, official said.
Over the last couple of days, the control room received as many as 19 complaints of child marriages following which the district officials were alerted, some of them said.
The control room received a tip-off that two child marriages were being planned at Dhanau village in the block, said Achalaram Choudhary, an official at Chohtan police station.
“We got information that Surtaram Meghwal, a villager, was planning to marry off four of his daughters, two of whom were minors,” he said.
“Following the information we rushed to the village and warned Meghwal against social menace.”
Chohtan tehsildaar Kumparam Lohar said they received a tip off about the marriage of two minor daughters of Karnaram Gawariya, a villager.
“We warned the villager not to go ahead with the marriage and posted police personnel at the village to thwart the planned child marriage,” he said
In Gudamalani block, official thwarted the marriage of a 6-year-old boy. Officials in Pachpadra block too prevented the marriage of three girls in Balotra town.
Sanjay Thakur, rights activist and project coordinator at Care India, said that despite official arrangement a large number of child marriages are taking place across the district.
The authorities are unable to stop the marriages as the villagers secretly organised the ceremonies two days before Akha Teej, he said.