Thiruvananthpauram: The reported forced marriage of a minor Kerala girl, who was staying in an orphanage, to a visiting Arab has led to protests in the state, with the Democratic Youth Federation of India staging a siege of the social welfare office in Kozhikode.

The news of the 17-year-old girl’s forced marriage has been in the limelight in the state over the past few days.

The girl’s mother had earlier complained to the state human rights commission. The girl had stated that she had agreed to the marriage only because of coaxing by the orphanage authorities. The DYFI today demanded that the licence of the orphanage be cancelled based on the girl’s complaint.

The girl’s complaint mentioned that an Arab had married her in June at the orphanage, and sexually exploited her after taking her to some resorts in the state.

The state human rights commission has directed the police and social welfare departments to submit a report immediately after conducting investigation into the matter.

If a marriage did take place as alleged, it would be a violation as per the Child Marriage Act, 2006 and also as per the Juvenile Justice Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The orphanage authorities initially denied the girl’s claims.

Less than three weeks after the controversial marriage, the Arab reportedly went back to the Gulf without informing the girl.