VIJAYAWADA: Prakasam stood first in the State when it came to child marriages as it has recorded 46.6 per cent of such cases, according to Mahita, an independent body working under the ‘Plan India Movement’.
Prakasam was followed by Kurnool (44.5 per cent), Krishna (35.9 per cent), Visakhapatnam (35.5 per cent) and Anantapur (26.8 per cent), a research conducted by the body stated.
The details were revealed at a State-level meeting by Women Commission and Mahita, which discussed the measures to be taken to eradicate the issue, in Vijayawada on Tuesday.
The research further stated that 33 per cent and 11 per cent of minor girls and boys were victims of child marriages.
“Andhra Pradesh is leading in child marriage cases, among all South Indian states because of one factor: traditional and social norms,” said Mahita director Ramesh Shekhar Reddy P.“Though Krishna ranked third, the number was surprising for us as this is a well-developed district when compared to the remaining,” he added.
He said, 35.7 per cent of women and 18.9 per cent of men, who were between 20-29 years of age, were married off before they turned 18.
“What came as a shock to us was 13.2 per cent of women, aged between 15 and 18 years, were either already mothers or were pregnant at the time of the survey,” he said.
Considering the seriousness of the issue, the Commission has assured necessary support to Mahita.
“We promise to extend complete support to Mahita and Plan India group in eradicating child marriages and also promote education. I ask the caste leaders to take measures against such acts,” said Commission chairperson Vasi Readdy Padma.
Requests by Mahita to Women Commission
To distribute circulars to district officials for improving reporting and monitoring mechanism
To organise meetings and consultation
To bring about amendments to the PCMA 2006 and State rules
Responsibility of monitoring child marriages to volunteers
To send circulars to the endowment department to display messages against child marriage