Despite a slew of measures initiated by the District Administration to enhance the availability of educational facilities aimed at putting an end to the evil practice, yet another minor marriage was allegedly conducted at Jambumadai village, which came under the scanner following a series of such marriages held last year.
According to informed sources, a 15-year-old Class X girl studying at the Government High School in Kavalkaranpatti near Erumaipatti was secretly married off to a 27-year-old farm worker, K Dhanagopal, in the wee hours of Sunday.
“The marriage ceremony was held clandestinely despite the efforts of revenue officials who visited the village on a tip-off and got a written assurance from the girl’s mother”, the sources noted.
At the marriage ceremony, the fellow villagers were presented with betel leaves and areca nut on a platter in accordance with the custom of the community. Earlier, an official team led by the village administrative officer (VAO) K Anburaj visited Jambumadai following a tip-off on the marriage on Saturday evening.
“The villagers feigned ignorance about any arrangement for the marriage. When we asked them to show the girl and the man, they did not do so. However, we found the place where the girl was concealed and warned her mother,” Anburaj told Express on Tuesday.
The VAO added that the official team obtained a written assurance from the girl’s mother Vijayalakshmi that she would not go ahead with the marriage plans.
However, reliable sources in the village pointed out that the written assurance was nothing but a move to hoodwink the officials. Once the officials left the village, the marriage was conducted.
Had the marriage been performed before the officials came for inquiry, they would produce the bride without the holy knot only to argue that she was not married, they said.
It came to light during the inquiries that the girl’s father was not in favour of the marriage but her mother showed keen interest in marrying the girl off.
Inquiries with the authorities of the Kavalkaranpatti Govt High School revealed that the bride has been attending classes in the last two days.
Shockingly, the girl had argued with the official team as to why they were trying to scuttle the marriage for which she was willing, a member of the team said.
It may be noted parents in the village had sought upgradation of Jambumadai Middle School and better bus services to the hamlet stating that the lack of basic educational facilities and transport forced them to marry off their daughters even when they were minors.
Subsequently, the Jambumadai Middle School was upgraded to the level of High School from the current academic year. Additional bus services too were introduced some months ago.