The block development officer (BDO) of Buarijore in Godda district on Saturday lodged a complaint at the first class judicial magistrate’s court against Jharkhand BJP chief Tala Marandi, his son Munna Marandi and one Bhagan Baskey in connection with Munna’s alleged marriage to a minor.
Munna was said to have married Baskey’s daughter on June 27 this year.
BDO Vijay Prakash Marandi, appointed by the Godda deputy commissioner as the child marriage prohibition officer, urged the Godda court to take cognisance of the offences under Sections 9, 10 and 11 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act-2006. The BDO lodged the complaint on the basis of statements obtained from five witnesses, legal opinion of the public prosecutor, and the school records of Baskey’s minor daughter — which mentions her date of birth as July 25, 2005.
Godda deputy commissioner Rahul Kumar Sharma had constituted a three-member committee headed by the BDO on Friday to probe the alleged child marriage.
Munna had tied the knot with a Class 6 student, reportedly aged 11 years. The matter came to light when a 19-year-old woman alleged before the State Women’s Commission that he had ditched her to marry a minor. The complainant alleged that Munna had been sexually exploiting her for over two years.
Munna was originally slated to be married off to another woman. However, when his former lover caught wind of this, she filed rape charges against him at a local police station. The family of Munna’s would-be bride backtracked at the last minute when they heard about this. Fearing social disgrace, Tala Marandi reportedly solemnised Munna’s marriage with the minor on June 27.
Taking suo motto cognizance of media reports, the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Friday wrote to the Godda district commissioner — asking him to probe the matter and invoke the Child Marriage Act against the accused family. The commission gave the Godda administration three days’ time to respond with details of the action taken. “Because of the media, at least things are moving now,” said Godda district Congress president Deepika Pandey.
Pandey said a team would soon meet Baskey and his wife to determine the reasons that compelled them to marry her off to Munna when they still had two older yet unmarried daughters. She was the third among four sisters, the district Congress president added.
Local villagers told HT on the condition of anonymity that soon after his marriage was called off, Tala paid a visit to Baskey’s residence and picked the minor as his future daughter-in-law.