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24X7 control room set up to check child marriage

WITH AKSHAY Tritiya just around the corner, the district administration has moved into high gear to ensure that childhood is not sacrificed on the marital altar. A series of measures - including setting up a 24x7 control room and constitution of flying squads - have been initiated to prevent those below legally marriageable age from tying the knot on the festival, which falls on April 30.
By HT Correspondent | None, Indore
PUBLISHED ON APR 26, 2006 12:23 AM IST

WITH AKSHAY Tritiya just around the corner, the district administration has moved into high gear to ensure that childhood is not sacrificed on the marital altar. A series of measures - including setting up a 24x7 control room and constitution of flying squads - have been initiated to prevent those below legally marriageable age from tying the knot on the festival, which falls on April 30.

A large number of child marriages traditionally take place on that day as it is considered among the most auspicious days for weddings. The control room, set up at the Woman and Child Welfare Department office at the Collectorate, will become operational from April 27 and would be manned by four-member teams working eight-hour shifts.

Additional Collector Rameshwar Gupta today urged residents to immediately inform the control room by calling up at 2366058 if they witness any marriage involving minors. In a statement issued here today, Gupta pointed out that marriage of minors was a criminal act. The administration was determined to carry out legal proceedings against found involved in such marriages.

The official added that intensive campaigns involving the support of media, government officials, public representatives and community representatives would be undertaken to raise awareness about the adverse affects of child marriage.

Awareness would be created in villages through street plays, songs and dances etc. Maa-beti Sammelans would be held and drummers would be employed to spread this information at interior places. Efforts would also be made to rope in priests and clergymen to ensure the campaign’s success.

As further insurance, traditions and customs of particular communities would be kept in mind while mapping proposals to prevent child marriages. The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, popularly known as the Sharda Act, calls for three years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 10,000 for those found perpetrating or abetting marriage between minors.

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