Assam Police Launches Major Operation Against Child Marriages, Over 800 Arrested

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In a concerted effort to combat the grave issue of child marriages, Assam Police initiated a large-scale operation in the early hours today, resulting in the apprehension of more than 800 individuals.

This operation, spearheaded by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as part of a broader initiative, aims to eradicate the practice of child marriage within the state. Chief Minister Sarma stated, “In a significant crackdown against child marriage, Assam Police has arrested over 800 accused individuals in a special operation that commenced at dawn. The number of arrests is expected to rise.”

On September 19, Deputy Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly, Dr. Numal Momin, reaffirmed the government’s unwavering commitment to addressing the problem of child marriages. He emphasized the government’s determination to eliminate this harmful practice and highlighted the health-related complications often faced by underage girls who become pregnant due to early marriages.

To ensure the well-being of young girls, Dr. Momin asserted that the government was resolute in stopping child marriages “at any cost.”

In the initial phase of this operation, Assam Police had already arrested approximately 5,000 individuals, including 15 clerics suspected of involvement in child marriages.

Deputy Speaker Momin commended CM Sarma’s unwavering stance and announced that similar crackdowns against child marriages would be conducted every six months. He expressed optimism that child marriages would be eliminated in Assam by 2026.

Regarding the minimum age for marriage, Dr. Momin proposed raising it to 21 for girls. He also expressed concerns about certain clerics who often view the issue purely from a religious perspective, with fake clerics allegedly facilitating such marriages.

The government is committed to enacting robust legislation to effectively combat child marriages. In September, the Hailakandi district police arrested 15 individuals believed to be “fake clerics” linked to child marriages. To further investigate the involvement of clerics in child marriages, the state government formed a five-member committee.

Led by Advocate General Devajit Lon Saika, this committee is tasked with drafting legislation that may include provisions to ban polygamy, address interfaith marriages involving false identities, and scrutinize the role of clerics in child marriage cases. The committee is expected to submit its proposed legislation to the government within 45 days, as per a notification issued by the Political Department of the state government on September 13.

The committee comprises members such as the Director General of Police of Assam GP Singh, Nalin Kohli (senior additional advocate general), Ramen Baruah (Legal Remembrancer and Secretary, Judicial Department), and Biswajit Pegu (Secretary of Home and Political Department), who serves as the member secretary of the committee.

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