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Kumbh signature drive against child marriage aims to set Guinness world record

The Uttar Pradesh government and stakeholders of the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj launched a Guinness world record attempt with a massive signature campaign on Tuesday, aiming to make the state and the rest of India free of child marriage by the next Kumbh.

cities Updated: Jan 30, 2019 14:45 IST
With a target of obtaining over 1.5 lakh signatures, the campaign was launched on the third and final day of ‘She is the Solution: Summit of Grace’ in the Kumbh Mela area.(HT Photo)

The Uttar Pradesh government and stakeholders of the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj launched a Guinness world record attempt with a massive signature campaign on Tuesday, aiming to make the state and the rest of India free of child marriage by the next Kumbh.

With a target of obtaining over 1.5 lakh signatures, the campaign was launched on the third and final day of ‘She is the Solution: Summit of Grace’ in the Kumbh Mela area.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who was present on the occasion, came out in support of the campaign against child marriage as the stakeholders initiated a Guinness World Record attempt for the most signatures on a single flex banner.

Ramdev said, “We need to take a pledge to put an end to child marriage, hunger, casteism and all other social evils, not just in UP but also from the entire India by the next Kumbh.”

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who was present on the occasion, came out in support of the campaign against child marriage as the stakeholders initiated a Guinness World Record attempt for the most signatures on a single flex banner. ( HT Photo )

“India will take huge strides only when illiteracy is eradicated from the entire country and we all have to work with full synergy to achieve this task,” he said.

Ramdev said it will be possible by bringing all sections of the society together to end child marriage.

The signature campaign will continue till the end of the Kumbh Mela. Tuesday’s event was followed by a march of 2,000 volunteers, faith leaders, Mahila Samakhya members, National Cadet Corps cadets, boy scouts and girl guides in support of the cause.

NCC cadet Rama Nyopan of Allahabad University said participants got to learn the significance of education and the ill effects of child marriage, which spoilt the future of girls.

Another NCC cadet, Satyam Yadav of Allahabad University, said child marriage was a social evil and a curse for the country.

The summit was organised under the joint auspices of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) and Parmarth Niketan, with technical support from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and UNICEF. Over 500 faith leaders and followers of various religions came together at the summit, calling for an end to gender discrimination and child marriage.

Uttar Pradesh has made significant improvements in reducing child marriage over the past decade, according to a Unicef official. No other state in India has reduced child marriage faster than UP, according to Javier Aguilar, chief, Child Protection, at Unicef India.

Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, the incidence of child marriage in UP reduced from 59% to 21.2%, while the national average dropped from 47% to 26.8% over the same period.

Twenty districts in UP have a higher incidence of child marriage than the national average of 27%. Shrawasti, a district in UP’s terai region has the highest incidence of child marriage in the country, at 68.5%.

Captions: A participant in the signature drive and Yoga guru Ramdev at its launch at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj on Tuesday.

First Published: Jan 30, 2019 14:45 IST