Asaduddin Owaisi raises concern over Assam govt’s crackdown against child marriages

Assam police have arrested 2258 people involved in child marriage incidents

Hyderabad: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday raised concern after the Assam government’s crackdown against child marriages.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, the Hyderabad MP said, “What will happen to those girls who have been married? The Assam government has booked 4000 cases and is talking of booking 4000 more. So, who will take care of those girls? You are putting a mountain of troubles over them.”

“You are in the government for six years, so it is a failure of the state. Why haven’t you built more schools in the state,” he added.

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He further accused the BJP of being “biased” and alleged that the government is not giving land to people in Lower Assam.

“This government is biased against Muslims. They gave land to landless people in Upper Assam but didn’t give the same to people in Lower Assam, instead are evicting people in huge numbers,” he said.

The AIMIM chief also raised concern over the adjournment of Parliament for the second day in a row.

“We want to raise certain issues in the Parliament, but the government is not letting the Parliament function. It is benefitting them as they are able to get away with the questions,” he further said.

Notably, considering a surge in cases of child marriage (below the age of 18 years) of Assam women as reported by the National Report of the fifth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led State government is carrying the crackdown against child marriages.

As per the latest development, Assam police have arrested 2258 people, across the state, involved in child marriage incidents.

Police said they have a list of 8,000 accused and as the drive continues, the figures will increase.

The drive was launched on Thursday night after CM Himanta Biswa Sarma chaired a video-conference meeting with senior officials of the police department directing them to launch a crackdown to rid the state of the evil practice of child marriage.

This episode of this slew of crackdowns dates back to May 5, 2022, when the Health Ministry released the fifth report of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), carried out in 2019 and 2020.

The report, following a fine and detailed reading by the Assam government, showed serious concerns regarding child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and maternal mortality.

It was found in the report that 31.8 per cent of women in Assam between 20-24 age were married at a minor age or before 18 years. This was even higher than the national average of 23.3 per cent.

Of these 31.8 per cent of women, more than half (50.8 per cent) cases were from All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MP Badruddin Ajmal’s parliamentary constituency, Dhubri.

As per the government, child marriage leads to teenage pregnancy in women causing maternal deaths in the state.

According to the Assam police data, 139 people have been arrested in Biswanath, 126 in Dhubri, 120 in Baksa, 114 in Barpeta, 97 in Nagaon, 96 in Hojai, 94 in Kokrajhar, 87 in Bongaigaon, 79 in Karimganj, 76 in Hailakandi, 72 in Cachar, 72 in Goalpara district in cases related to child marriage.

Director General of Assam Police (DGP) GP Singh, while addressing a press conference on Friday, said that 4,074 cases related to child marriage have been registered at different police stations across the state.

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma informed that the crackdown against child marriages in the state would continue in the coming days.

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