Patna, Aug. 22: An under-age marriage in Raxaul could be stopped just in time as the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and police acted in tandem.
The panel's chairperson, Nisha Jha, told The Telegraph: "I got the information that a marriage ' in which both the girl and boy are minors of Nepal ' is going to be held today. I took up the issue immediately to get in touch with senior police officers in East Champaran district. They promised me that the marriage would be stopped"
An NGO ' Dalit Mahila Jan Kalyan Sansthan headed by Suman Paswan ' was supposed to help solemnise the marriage of Pinky (name changed) and Gyanendra (name changed). However, sources of the NGO said the girl was supposed to complete 18 years in eight days and the boy was an adult though he did not have an age proof with him.
Jha said: "The girl's family was aware of the marriage but the family members did not want it to happen. The marriage was to take place at 11 in the morning in a temple," Jha said, adding that she had come to know that the girl was rescued from Nepal by the NGO and was tying the knot with a boy who was already married. Jha said that she was also told by a source that the girl and boy were to elope and marry each other. "We will ensure that such under-age marriages do not recur in future. If people keep informing us as in this incident, we'll certainly see to it that the social evil is not practised," she said.
NGOs like these have mushroomed in border areas where under-age marriage is not uncommon. There have been debates on whether such organisations bring any social change in the porous areas but the condition of the people, especially teenaged boys and girls, has hardly turned brighter. First, the hapless teenagers take shelter at these NGOs even before realising that under-age marriage would be impossible for them. Secondly, the NGOs often make mistakes of properly identifying the youths.
Interestingly, the NGOs are hardly hauled up for such wrongdoings though the commission's chairperson said human trafficking is quite abundant in these areas.
Jha added: "The marriage could have resulted in human trafficking because we have seen many such cases in which at first, marriages are held and then the couple are found becoming victims of human trafficking. There is an involvement of some organisation that keep encouraging such things and then the couple land in a soup."
The commission keeps getting cases of human trafficking from such areas as the district has a long border with Nepal, she added. In the past, the commission had to intervene in a couple of such cases in the district, too.
The superintendent of police and the district magistrate were also informed. An action-taken report would be provided to the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights later.