Tamil Nadu: Dindigul, Salem on top in stopping child marriages

According to a data accessed through RTI, the Community Service Registers (CSRs) and First Information Reports (FIRs) filed on child marriage cases were far less than the actual number of incidents that were stopped following the interference of authorities.
Tamil Nadu: Dindigul, Salem on top in stopping child marriages
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KRISHNAGIRI: Dindigul and Salem districts are among the top districts in stopping child marriages in Tamil Nadu for the last three years — from January 2021 to February 2024, revealed data accessed by way of Right to Information Act from the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department.

However, the Community Service Registers (CSRs) and First Information Reports (FIRs) filed on child marriage cases were far less than the actual number of incidents that were stopped following the interference of authorities, the data showed.

This was revealed in the RTI data accessed by advocate and child rights activist, S Prabakar, from the Commissionerate of Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department, for the past three years.

It was also revealed after authorities stopped child marriage incidents, police complaints on the cases were not registered by district authorities concerned, and some districts are filling the cases after the incident.

“In 2021 from January to December, 2,638 child marriages were stopped in Tamil Nadu, in which CSR or FIR filed only 707 cases, which is just 26.80%. Similarly, in 2022 from January to December, 2, 401 child marriages were stopped in which CSR or FIR was filed on 881 cases, which is 36.69%.

And in 2023 from January to December, 1,961 child marriages were stopped, in which 973 cases were registered as CSR or FIR, which is 49.62 %. Similarly, in January and February 2024, 347 child marriages were stopped, of which 128 complaints were registered as CSR or FIR, which is 36.89%,” explained Prabakar.

He said, “More FIRs will reduce child marriage and teenage pregnancy cases in Tamil Nadu. Apart from stopping child marriages, the district administration should make efforts to file cases against people.”

Salem Collector R Brindha Devi told TNIE that they are working on the issue and taking steps to reduce child marriage, and even recently career guidance programme was conducted for higher secondary school students.

Dindigul district Collector MN Poongodi was unavailable for comments.

However, Dindigul District Social Welfare Officer G Pushpakala told TNIE, “In 2023, the number of child marriages stopped was 121; however CSR or FIR was filed only on 44 cases. We are taking steps to make CSR or FIR for 10 more cases for the year 2023. In many cases after stopping child marriage, there are no sufficient documents to file police complaint against them and in few cases, members of families where child marriages were stopped fled to other districts.”

Theni collector RV Shajeevana was unavailable for comment.

An official from Theni district collectorate asked TNIE to contact the Collector after the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha election because the collector was busy with election duty and could not talk to the media on certain topics.

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