A student’s intervention saved a seven-year-old girl who was set to be given away in marriage to a man old enough to be her father. The girl, an MBBS student of Patna medical college was taken to the wedding venue by her mother to “see the cute looking bride”.
However, after coming across a child who was about to take wedding vows, she informed an NGO which in turn called the police to stop the wedding.
The incident took place on Monday in Patna, at a venue located right in front of the Bihar legislature complex and less than a kilometre from the Patna high court campus.
The police stopped the crime just as the ‘mehndi’ ceremony, preceding the wedding vows, was over. “She is so small, she can’t spell marriage, leave alone understand its meaning”, said an official on the spot.
The child’s mother confessed that her husband had thrashed their daughter to agree to be wedded to a stranger four times her age.
“A case has been registered. The girl’s father has fled from the scene,” said DSP (Sachivalaya) Shibli Nomani, adding the case has now been referred to the women’s police station for further investigation.
Sources said the girl’s father, a daily-wage labourer from a village in Munger district of south eastern Bihar, has ten children, including six daughters.
The incident happened just a day after another child marriage was aborted in Patna City, where a 15-year-old girl showed courage to defy her father and his friend when she came to know of their plans to sell her to a man thrice her age for Rs. 1.5 lakh.