Wednesday, May 29, 2024
India News

Ordeal of child marriage victims in Udaipur ends with Legal Services Authority’s help

Activists in Udaipur taking a pledge to make the district child marriage-free through a sustained campaign.

Activists in Udaipur taking a pledge to make the district child marriage-free through a sustained campaign.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangment

The ordeal of two child marriage victims in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district has ended with the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) pitching in with financial assistance after the nullification of their marriages.
The DLSA has granted a compensation of ₹1.25 lakh each to sisters Radha, 12, and Meena, 14, (names changed) after they won the case. The monetary help came ahead of the Akshaya Tritiya festival, when a large number of children are pushed into marriage in Rajasthan.
The girls’ schooling stopped at their in-laws’ place and the abusive behaviour of their husbands started within a month of their marriage. “He did not allow me to speak to my mother. When my mother did not hear from me, she arrived at the house and insisted on taking me back,” Radha said.
When Radha did not go back to her in-laws’ place, her husband turned up at their house and allegedly strangulated her mother to death. While the accused was arrested and put on trial, the girls were clueless about their future.
The incident came to the notice of the Udaipur Child Welfare Committee, which reached out to an NGO in the district working for the prevention of child marriages.
Gayatri Seva Sansthan (GSS), a coalition partner of the Child Marriage Free India Campaign, swung into action and took the two sisters under its care for their rehabilitation.
As per the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21), the number of women aged 20-24 years and married before 18 years in Rajasthan is 25.4%, as against the national average of 23.3%. Ravi Kant, convener of Child Marriage Free India, said authorities are on a strict vigil on ‘Akha Teej’ this year to ensure that no child faces the fate of Radha and Meena.