The Assam government's crackdown on child marriage continues after a week of the state government's announcement. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that 2,789 people have so far been arrested in its action to curb the practice in the state within a week. The state government has also initiated plans for the rehabilitation of "victims" of child marriage. “Now, total arrest , 2789. Crackdown continues,” Sarma wrote on Twitter.
The government's action has broken protests at various places by families of those arrested have been reported in the last few days, Assam Police spokesperson Prasanta Kumar Bhuyan had on Thursday said that no such incident took place anywhere in the state during the last 24 hours.
The Assam Police 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. The arrests are being carried out on the basis of 4,135 FIRs registered across the state.
The state government has formed a cabinet sub-committee on the rehabilitation of "victims" of child marriage, and Sarma’s cabinet colleagues Ranoj Pegu, Keshab Mahanta and Ajanta Neog have been named as members of the panel. Opposition parties have criticised the manner in which the drive is being carried out, terming the arrests of teenage husbands and family members as an "abuse of law" for political gain, and equating the police action with "terrorizing people". Those families, who have faced arrest have also questioned the administration's move and seek justice.
Sarma had earlier this week justified the crackdown 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.
(With PTI inputs)