Taking cognizance of a report published in The New Indian Express on Tuesday, Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes P K Jayalakshmi has directed the Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) Officer of Nilambur to probe into the practice of child marriage prevailing in the tribal colonies bordering Kozhikode-Malappuram districts.
Express had reported the plight of a Class III student belonging to Kattupaniya tribe of Vettilakolli colony who was forcibly married off to a 24-year-old youth of Ambumala Colony, an adjacent tribal settlement. More seriously, she has been denied her right to continue schooling as well.
The minister has also directed the official to submit a report with immediate effect on the incidences of child marriages. The order seeking report, which was sent to the Tribal Development Officer, Kozhikode, was handed over to ITDP Officer Jessymol.
“We have taken this issue very seriously and will take adequate measures after getting the report,” Jayalakshmi said.
As it is a social issue we have directed the official to conduct an inquiry, she said.
The Minister also vowed to check if the authorities of the Department are giving scant regard to the issues of these colonies. According to the Scheduled Tribe Welfare Department officials, the shrinking population of women is said to be the major reason for the evil practice.