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30 schoolgirls go with friend to cops, help her stall child marriage in Bihar

Impressed by their courage, officers from the police station went to the girl’s village and convinced her parents to cancel the wedding.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2018 20:04 IST
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar child marriage,Child marriage,Child bride
School children take part in an awareness campaign to stop child marriage.(PTI File /Representative Photo)

All of 15, her wedding was fixed with a 22-year-old widower. Pinky Kumari, a Class 8 student at a government school in Bihar’s Gaya district, was to tie the knot on February 18 and leave her parents to settle with her husband and in-laws.

But the child bride revolted.

Accompanied by an all-girl group of 30 school friends, she travelled to a police station in her native Barachatti on Tuesday and narrated her ordeal to the officers.

“I knew this marriage is illegal. I want to study and complete my education. I tried to convince my parents but they ignored my pleas. I shared my plight with my friends and sought their help. They proved to be my saviour,” Pinky said on Wednesday.

Impressed by their courage, officers from the police station went to Pinky’s village and convinced her parents to cancel the wedding. The village panchayat too yielded to the girls’ pressure.

“It was heartening to learn that after being counselled by our officers, Kumari’s orthodox family voluntarily stalled the wedding and promised to wait for their daughter to attain the marriageable age. The girl’s courage and resolve were laudable,” Gaya police superintendent Garima Mallik said.

Her courage has drawn appreciation from senior administrative and police officers.

Pinky has become sort of an icon in a strictly patriarchal society that often sees girls as a burden and where child marriage is an accepted practice, although banned by the government. The anti-child marriage law sets the legal age for matrimony at 21 for men and 18 for women.

The Bihar government played its part in spurring Pinky to revolt against the age-old practice. The government has been taking initiatives to spread awareness about social evils such as child marriage and dowry. Such campaigns have saved many girls below 18 from being married off.

“I participated in a human chain campaign against child marriage and dowry on January 21 organised by the Bihar government,” Pinky said and thanked station house officer Chetananand Jha for his help.

Similar anti-early marriage efforts are happening in neighbouring Jharkhand, where chief minister Raghubar Das felicitated a couple of girls who had stood up against the practice and provided them monetary help to realise their dreams.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 20:04 IST