The Assam Police on Thursday said it has apprehended 235 more people for allegedly marrying minors, taking the tally of arrests to over 2,750, as Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma vowed to continue the crackdown on the social menace.
A total of 2,763 people have been arrested so far against 4,135 FIRs registered across the state, the Assam Police said in a statement.
"Our crackdown against child marriage continues... The drive against this social evil will continue. We seek the support of the people of Assam in our fight against this social crime," Sarma tweeted.
He had earlier this week justified the measures and said nearly 17 per cent of over 6.2 lakh pregnant women in Assam last year were teenagers, according to the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) portal.
Meanwhile, police said a pregnant woman, who married last year while being a minor, died at a hospital during delivery in Bongaigaon on Sunday, and her husband and father-in-law have been arrested.
“The 18-year old girl died at a hospital in Jogighopa during delivery,” Bongaigaon SP Swapnaneel Deka told PTI.
The SP also said the deputy commissioner of the district has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the woman’s death.
Though protests at various places by families of those arrested have been reported in the last few days, Assam Police spokesperson Prasanta Kumar Bhuyan said that no such incident took place anywhere in the state during the last 24 hours.
The Assam government has also formed a cabinet sub-committee on rehabilitation of the "victims" of child marriage, Education Minister Ranoj Pegu said.
“I am a member of that sub-committee along with Health Minister Keshab Mahanta and Finance Minister Ajanta Neog," he told a press conference here.
"We will submit a report within a very short span of time," Pegu added.
The Assam Police had launched the crackdown on child marriage on February 3, with over 2,000 people, including Hindu and Muslim priests who officiated these weddings, arrested within the first two days.
Opposition parties have criticised the manner in which it is being carried out, terming the arrests of teenage husbands and family members as "abuse of law" for political gain, and equating the police action with "terrorising people".