‘Why Raise Marriage Age If Girl Can Reproduce by 15’: Congress MLA

The Quint
·3-min read

Sajjan Singh Verma, senior Congress MLA from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh has stirred up a political controversy for his regressive comments on a woman’s marriageable age on Wednesday, 13 January.

"When girls can reproduce at 15 years, why raise their marriageable age from 18 to 21 years," said the former PWD minister, according to ANI.

His remarks come days after MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the minimum marriage age for girls should be raised from 18 years to 21 years, while inaugurating ‘Samman’, an initiative to create awareness about crimes against women.

Mocking the MP CM, Verma said, “Is he (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) a scientist or a great doctor that he is batting to increase the minimum marriageable age for girls from 18 years to 21 years?” quoted ANI.

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NCPCR Issues Notice for Discriminatory Remarks

Verma added that women are ‘ready for reproduction’ by the time they are 15 years old, and added saying, "This is not my finding. As per doctors' report, girls are suitable for child bearing at 15 years of age. Owing to it alone, a girl is considered to be mature enough for marriage at a minimum age of 18 years." The Kamal Nath loyalist added, “Girls should go to their sasural (in-laws home) and be happy after they turn 18.”

These comments have been received with public outrage, with BJP demanding an apology and Verma’s resignation from the party.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights also issued a notice asking Verma to ‘provide an explanation within two days, giving reasons and justifying his intention for making such a discriminatory statement against minor girls and the law’, quoted ANI.

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BJP and Congress React

Congress has tried to distance itself from the controversy with the state spokesperson, Narendra Saluja saying, “They are his (Verma’s) personal views and not the party’s official position.”

Commenting on the issue, state BJP spokesperson Neha Bagga said, “By using such language about girls, Sajjan Singh Verma has gone against his name Sajjan, which means gentleman. By his statement, he has insulted all the daughters, not only in MP, but across the country. It seems Verma has forgotten that the national president of his party Sonia Gandhi and the young national general secretary of his party Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are both women. I request the Congress national president Sonia Gandhi to ask Sajjan Singh Verma to publicly apologise to all the girls and then fire him from the party.”

Calling out Verma ‘for insulting all the daughters, not only in Madhya Pradesh, but across the country’, BJP spokesperson Rahul Kothari said, “It seems Verma has forgotten that the national president of his party Sonia Gandhi and the national general secretary of his party, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, are both women. I request the Congress national president Sonia Gandhi to ask Sajjan Singh Verma to publicly apologise to women and then fire him from the party," reported NDTV.

(With inputs from ANI and NDTV)

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