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Teachers save 12-yr-old from marriage

If it was not for her teachers Selavarani would have to attend to daily household chores instead of going to school, reports GC Shekhar.
Hindustan Times | By GC Shekhar, Chennai
UPDATED ON MAR 20, 2008 03:34 AM IST

If it was not for her teachers 12-year-old Selavarani would have to attend to daily household chores at her in-law’s place instead of going to school.

The class VII student of a local school in Selliampalayam village near Perambalur was being forced to marry a boy, a year younger to her. Minutes before the ceremony began, a police team arrived at the village and rescued the girl.

Selavarani’s father Selladurai, a farmer, had fixed her marriage to Karthik, 11, son of a distant relative from a nearby village. The boy’s father had approached Selladurai after his wife’s death so that Selavarani could help run the household.

Despite protests by the young bride and groom, their fathers made arrangements to get them married on Wednesday.

Selvarani had told her friends about her plight on Tuesday, her last day at school. When the news reached the teachers they informed an NGO who in turn alerted Perambalur DSP R Bhaskaran after lodging a formal complaint with the local police.

The DSP rushed to the village on Wednesday, just in time.

Selvarani told Bhaskaran she wanted to continue studying and was against the marriage. Karthik too had expressed similar sentiments.

Bhaskaran warned the fathers that child marriage is an offence and punishable under law.

“I have asked them to send the children back to school. I have also warned the villagers that they would face action if the two sides proceeded with the marriage in spite of our warning,” Bhaskaran said.

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