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Rajasthan cracks down on child marriages

Rajasthan,Human Interest/Society, Sat, 31 Mar 2012 IANS

Jaipur, March 31 (IANS) In an effort to prevent child marriages, the administration of Bharatpur district in Rajasthan has made it mandatory for the date of birth of the groom and bride to be printed on the wedding invitation card, an official said Saturday.


Many child marriage cases are reported on Akshaya Tritiya in Bharatpur, about 180 km from here.


As per orders issued by Bharatpur district magistrate Gaurav Goyal, the printing press owners in the district have been told to get proof of the date of birth of the bride and groom from their family members before accepting the contract of printing wedding invitation cards. Each card will carry warnings like 'Child marriage is a crime'.


Printing press owners found flouting the orders would face arrest and subsequently six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1,000.


Akshaya Tritiya, to be observed on April 24, is considered highly auspicious for marriages. It falls on the third day after 'amavasi' (new moon) in the Hindu month of Vaishakha.


"Child marriages are rampant in the area on Akha Teej. As it is quite common that wedding invitation cards are printed to invite guests, we have directed the printing press owners to follow these orders. They have been asked to submit a copy of the invitation card for each wedding taking place in the district to the administration. These wedding cards will be scanned," a senior district administration officer told IANS.


Besides this, the Rajasthan government has warned of strict action against district administration and police officials if they fail to check child marriages on Akshaya Tritiya.


In a written direction to the district collectors and superintendents of police in each district, the state home department has asked them to keep strict vigil on child marriages on Akha Teej, which is a rampant practice in rural areas of Rajasthan.


The villagers usually keep the preparation for these illegal marriages a secret. The directive aims to alert the officials to check any such preparations, the official added.


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