The girl, (15) is a resident of Narasimhapalle hamlet of Thavanampalle mandal. Her parents are employed as farm labourers. She had not been coming to the municipal high school at Santhapeta in Chittoor district since October 10. Curious to know the reason, the girl’s class teacher tried to interrogate the classmates but they didn’t reply.
Her friends went to the village and tried to contact the girl but the latter’s parents refused to divulge any details. They, instead, kept on saying that she was ill and had to be hospitalised in Bangalore.
The teachers soon figured out that the girl was made to tie the marital knot with a relative who worked as a daily wager aged about 25.
The ‘muhurtham’ was set around 11.00 pm on Thursday, but the information trickled in an hour before.
The Rural Organisation for Poverty Eradication Services (ROPES) and Child Line 1098 received the information. The volunteers rushed to the village and stopped the rituals from taking place.
Women police accompanied the rescue party and so, there was no resistance from the parents or relatives from both sides. The girl later disclosed that she had been made to sit at home since October 10.
Despite repeated efforts to increase awareness programmes in the state, child marriages are rampant, in the State. The girl’s parents and in-laws gave an undertaking that they would not force the girl into child marriage and let her resume her studies. On her request, the officials took steps to accommodate her in the social welfare hostel adjoining her school.