In a concerted effort to combat child marriages in Assam, the police have apprehended 15 individuals impersonating as “fake Kazis” in Hailakandi district. These impostors are accused of facilitating child marriages through the creation of fraudulent documents, according to a senior official’s statement on Thursday.

The police initiated an operation under the leadership of the Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime), resulting in the arrests of 15 counterfeit Kazis from different areas within the district on Wednesday. A senior police official disclosed that six individuals were detained in the Lala police station area, with two arrests each from Hailakandi, Ramnathpur, and Algapur police station areas, and one individual apprehended from each of the Katlichera, Panchgram, and Bilaipur police station areas.

Samir Baruah, the Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime) in Hailakandi district, reported that police had seized multiple marriage registers from the suspects. He stated, “The arrested individuals are fake Kazis, and they unlawfully conducted marriages, including those involving minors. In one register, we discovered that one of the detained individuals had illegally conducted 150-200 marriages in the district, some of which involved child marriages. Our investigation is ongoing.”

The arrested individuals were identified as Azir Uddin Laskar, Mufti Abul Hussain, Asadullah Laskar, Kausar Ahmed, Abdul Jalil Laskar, Sorif Uddin Barbuya, Nurul Hoque Laskar, Abdus Asalam Mazumdar, Ubeidulla Choudhary, Abu Bakhar Barbhuiya, Aftab Uddin Laskar, Moin Uddin Chowdhury, Mujakir Hussain Mazumdar, Sahidul Haque, and Foiz Uddin Laskar.

A case has been registered, and various documents were seized during the operation. Legal proceedings are currently underway.

Earlier this month, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced a crackdown on child marriages to be conducted every six months, with the anticipation of significant arrests during the upcoming drive. He expressed hope that child marriage would be eradicated from Assam by 2026.

According to the state government, the number of arrests under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, has been on the rise in recent years, with 3,098 individuals arrested in the first two months of this year alone.