The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has been campaigning against the practice of child marriage still continuing in the country in spite of there being laws against it. We have also urged upon successive governments the need for spreading awareness about the law and improving through sustained efforts the social conditions of poverty, illiteracy and neglect of the girl child which feed and encourage the custom.
However, we are appalled to find that the BJP Government in Assam which has taken no steps during its tenure to prevent under-age marriage according to the Child Marriage Prohibition Act has suddenly launched a crusade in some districts picking out husbands who have allegedly married under-age girls. They are being put indiscriminately under arrest; sometimes men who have been married for several years are being dragged off to the police station in handcuffs and detained there leaving the wives and the children of these marriages in a completely helpless state. The National Family Health Survey 2021 tells us that 32% of women in Assam were married before the legal age of 18. Does the Himanta Biswa Sharma Government intend to turn half of Assam into a prison by this entirely distorted application of the law and intensify the atmosphere of persecution and terror in the state?
AIDWA demands immediate withdrawal of this atrocious campaign by the Assam Government, release of those being separated illegally from their families and payment of compensation for the harassment caused. AIDWA stands by its Assam unit in their plans of protest against the Government and their resolve to stand by the affected women both legally and financially. AIDWA also calls upon the Assam Government to see the problem socially and take steps to eradicate poverty and illiteracy and raise awareness against child marriage in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the Child Marriage Prohibition Act.