Officials of the Vellore District Administration managed to stop the marriage of a minor girl a day before the wedding day in Ambur, while they could only register a case in another reported minor marriage in Vaniyambadi as they reached the venue after the marriage was over.
Sources said Anandhi (14), a Class IX student of Thoppur village near Alanguppam in Ambur, was all set to marry Muthu (30) of Mathur in Tiruppattur, on Thursday. Anandhi’s mother Jothi had reportedly arranged her marriage.
Based on a tip off, Madhanur BDO Umadevi sent an Extension Officer of Social Welfare, Punitha, to stop Anandhi’s marriage. Punitha arrived at Anandhi’s house on Wednesday night and counselled her mother and relatives. Later, she got their nod and Anandhi’s mother’s signature on a statement that she would not get Anandhi married before she attained the age of 18. In the other case in Alangayam in Vaniyambadi, the marriage of a 15-year-old girl, Sasikala’s (15) to a 30-year-old man got over before the officials could reach the spot.
After Sasikala reportedly failed in her Class X examinations, her parents had fixed her marriage on Thursday with Sankar(30), a relative. On Thursday, Vellore District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO) Gomathi got information about Sasikala’s marriage at 8.15 am. The officials of the department and Tahshildar Baskaran rushed to bride’s house only to find that the marriage was over at 4 am. The All Women Police booked a case on Sasikala’s parents and the groom’s mother and were on the lookout for the couple. District Social Welfare Officer Gomathi said, “Such marriages mostly occur in the interior villages of Tirupattur, Vaniyambadi and Ambur, mostly in a particular community.” The department had stopped around 20 minor marriages in the past two years.
She said, “The department is conducting seminars and awareness programmes on minor marriages often. An awareness event has been planned at Alangayam block during the second week of July.”
Most domestic violence cases were from families where the girl is married off at a very young age. The awareness events by the department not only threw light on the health and psychological aspects of the girl but also supported education for women as education influenced women and thereby her family and society on the whole, Gomathi said. She requested people, residents and relatives of the young brides and grooms to inform the department for action in such cases.