CHENNAI: Against the backdrop of high incidence of child marriages across South Asian countries, the Feminist Inquiries into Rights and Equality (FIRE) has organised a conference on the holistic approaches required to prevent child marriages.
The panelists, while recognising contribution of child marriage laws, said the recent shift towards stringency raises some serious concerns. They opined that the focus is now on criminalisation of persons, especially minors, and prosecution has shifted attention away from issues, including absence of quality education, failure to provide safety and security for girls, and lack of livelihood opportunities for women.
“While root causes of child marriage arise from poverty, marginalisation and insecurity, the transformation of material conditions and empowering girls might be a more effective solution than a predominant focus on the marriage age,” they said. Swagata Raha, legal researcher, said that the law recommends no therapy for the problem.