The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign and other initiatives for the girl child may be working, but they are yet to change people’s mindset. Although there has been a decline in child marriages, certain sections of society still do not consider child marriage a serious crime. A 15-year-old girl from Bihar managed to stop her impending marriage by writing to the district magistrate about her plight.
Rajni from Gaya village stood up for herself for her rights. She went against her parents who were planning her marriage with a 19-year-old college student, reported TOI.
Rajni, eldest of five children, is the daughter of a marginal farmer-cum-daily wage earner
The class XI girl, with a readiness for learning, defied the regressive patriarchal society. On April 4, Rajni filed a complaint petition with Abhishek Singh, Gaya district magistrate, to seek his help in stopping the marriage. She also attached a copy of her Aadhaar card with the complaint as proof of her being a minor.
In the petition, Rajni stated that her parents fixed her wedding without her knowledge and that she was not even consulted about the same.
“My father had paid Rs 1 lakh as dowry to the groom’s father, who is a tailor in the village. My request to the prospective groom to turn down the offer also went in vain. When I refused, my parents resorted to cruelty. Besides being thrashed, I was denied food and stopped from going to school.”
In the complaint, she even threatened to commit suicide if the marriage was forced upon her. The DM, on receiving the complaint reached the village. The DM reprimanded the parents and counselled them. Singh also asked the local mukhiya to be alert and prevent child marriages.
The parents have now assured that they will not force their daughter to marry. They further promised to educate her as per their means.
Ashok Kumar, Gaya court lawyer, demanded a harsh punishment for the cruel parents, “By thrashing their daughter, depriving her of food, keeping her in illegal confinement and attempted child marriage, the parents should have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC, Child Marriage Prevention Act and Dowry Prohibition Act.”