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AIDWA Condemns Himanta Biswa led BJP Govt’s Child Marriage Crackdown in Assam

Organisation alleges men who have been married for several years are also being dragged off to the police station rendering wives and children of these marriages completely helpless

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New Delhi: The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) have released a press statement condemning the Assam Government’s “persecution of married couples in the name of taking measures against child marriage.”

The statement comes after the recent decision by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to launch the police drive against men married to girls below the legally permissible age of 18 taken on January 23.

The organisation has alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in Assam has taken no steps during its tenure to prevent underage marriage according to the Child Marriage Prohibition Act. However, it has now suddenly launched a crusade in some districts picking out husbands who have allegedly married underage girls.

The organisation has raised concerns that as the husbands who have allegedly married under-age girls are being put indiscriminately under arrest, men who have been married for several years are also being dragged off to the police station in handcuffs and getting detained leaving the wives and children of these marriages in a completely helpless state. 

The Assam government had justified its decision by citing the report of the National Family Health Survey (NHFS)- V which paradoxically did not list the state as the worst ‘offender’ on the number of child marriages index.

An excerpt from the statement by the organisation reads: “The National Family Health Survey 2021 tells us that 32% of women in Assam were married before the legal age of 18. Does the Himanta Biswa Sharma Government intend to turn half of Assam into a prison by this entirely distorted application of the law and intensify the atmosphere of persecution and terror in the state?”

AIDWA has demanded immediate withdrawal of this ‘atrocious’ campaign by the Assam Government, the release of those being separated illegally from their families and compensation for the harassment caused.

“AIDWA stands by its Assam unit in their plans of protest against the Government and their resolve to stand by the affected women legally and financially. AIDWA also calls upon the Assam Government to see the problem socially and take steps to eradicate poverty and illiteracy and raise awareness against child marriage in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the Child Marriage Prohibition Act,” the statement concluded. 

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