Nagaon: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said that people involved in child marriages would be arrested from Friday onwards.
“Thousands of people engaged in child marriage will be arrested from tomorrow. In the next six or seven days, thousands of youth or men who have married girls under 18 years will be arrested. Whoever has married a minor previously or has married now will be held,” Assam CM said after his interaction with the faculty members of Nagaon Medical College.
He further added that anyone married to a girl under 14 years of age would be arrested under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Earlier in the day, CM Sarma had said that the government is firm in its resolve to end the “menace of child marriage” in the state and urged the citizens for their cooperation.
Taking to Twitter, CM Sarma said, “Assam Govt is firm in its resolve to end the menace of child marriage in the state. So far @assampolice has registered 4,004 cases across the state and more police action is likely in days ahead. Action on the cases will begin starting February 3. I request all to cooperate.”
As per the data shared by the CM, most child marriage cases were registered in the Dhubri district (370) and the least in Hailakandi (1).
A total of 123 cases were registered in Bongaigaon, 35 in Cachar, 125 in Darang, 75 in Dibrugarh, 157 in Goalpara, 255 in Hojai, 80 in Kamrup, 204 in Kokrajhar, 113 in Nagaon, 224 in Morigaon, and 110 in Tamilpur amongst others.
Recently, the Assam CM had announced that the state government would launch a massive crackdown across the state to stop cases of child marriage.
The protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012 defines a child as an individual under the age of 18 and it criminalises sex between an under-age child and an adult.
Cases will be registered under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, if the bride is between 14 to 18 years old, the chief minister said addressing a press conference last month.