CUTTACK: Pushed by abject poverty, a couple of Nayagarh married off its minor daughter to a man three times her age. The 16-year-old’s marriage to a 52-year-old widower of Tamando area in the City came to light when locals reported the matter to Childline on Tuesday.The marriage had taken place on July 7. According to Childline, the minor girl was forced to marry Shankar Nayak against her will.
"The wedding was unofficially conducted at Nayak's house and the couple simply exchanged garlands pledging an oath before a Tulsi plant," a member of the CWC said.Childline was tipped off about the incident by residents of Naput panchayat located adjacent to an engineering college in Tamando. Soon after, Childline armed with a order from Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Khurda, swooped down on Nayak's house along with Tomando police and rescued the minor.The girl, in her statement before the CWC, stated that though she was unwilling to get married at an early age, her parents forced her into the relation with the 52-year-old man. She said acute poverty forced her parents to take the step.
The CWC has asked Tamando police to register a FIR against the widower who feigned ignorance about rules and age-restrictions for a legal marriage.A case has been registered by police and investigation is on. Meanwhile, the girl has been handed over to CWC which will counsel and take steps to rehabilitate her, said sources.