KOCHI: The Department of Women and Child Development has started a new campaign against child marriage called Ponvakku. The word has nothing to do with gold. Instead, it indicates how valuable the word of an informer is, says Mahila Shakti Kendra state coordinator Sreesoorya Thiruvoth. The department plans to encourage the public, especially youngsters, to report incidents of child marriage to authorities. The informers will be rewarded.
Through the ‘valued’ tip-off from the informer, a girl will be saved and can regain control of her life. The campaign was started in light of several child marriages reported across the state. “Society has a tendency to support the child marriage if the girl is below average in studies or belongs to a financially struggling family. We intend to stop the practice of normalising such crimes,” said Sreesoorya.
“We came across many incidents of child marriage recently. So, a reward might attract more people to report the crime. An informer will get Rs 2,500 if they inform about the marriage before it takes place,” she said. The department found that between April 2020 and March 2021, they received 145 calls alerting them about child marriages.
In a study, the Department of Women and Child Development found that last year, 41 child marriages were reported across the state. In 2021, till the end of August, 45 cases were reported. With 36 cases in 2021, Wayanad reported the most number of cases this year. Last year too Wayanad reported the most number of cases related to child marriage (27).