CNA – Police in Assam have arrested over 1,800 men for marrying or arranging marriages to underage girls, launching what the eastern Indian state’s chief minister said yesterday was the start of a sustained crackdown on the practice.
Police began the arrests on Thursday night, and more were likely, including of people helping to register such marriages in temples and other places of worship, Himanta Biswa Sarma said. “Child marriage is the primary reason behind child pregnancy, which in turn is responsible for high maternal and infant mortality rates,” he said.
Marriage under 18 is illegal in India, but the law is openly flouted.
The United Nations estimates that the country is home to the largest number of child brides in the world at around 223 million. Nearly 1.5 million underage girls get married there every year, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund said in a 2020 report.
“There are men from all faiths and communities who got arrested for this heinous crime,” Sarma said.
The Assam government has registered cases related to child marriage against 4,004 people, he added.