Mangalore, May 13, 2012: The woman and child welfare department saved a 17-year-old girl whose parents were forcibly marrying her off to a distant relative on May 13, Sunday.
The girl’s parents were making arrangements to get her married to Suresh Lal, an automobile mechanic from Calicut in Kerala, but officials from the woman and child welfare department saved her just a few minutes before the wedding ceremony.
The teenager and Suresh were getting married in the auditorium of Shri Veerabhadra Temple in Ullal at 12:05 a.m., but a team of officials from the woman and child welfare department, including A. Shakunthala, the deputy director of the woman and child welfare department, Asha Nayak, the chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Shymala, the child protection officer, Mehrunnissa, the child development project officer, and the police, arrived at the venue and stopped the marriage.
The parents of the young bride said that she is 18 years old, but Suresh’s parents said that they did not know her age. Reportedly, their engagement ceremony was held a year back.
Asha Nayak, the chairperson of the CWC, took the minor to Eshwarananda Seva Ashram in Kankanady because her parents refused to take her home. Mrs. Nayak says that the CWC will take care of the teenager and help her continue her studies as her parents have refused to take her home.
Mrs. Shakunthala said that someone had informed them that a child marriage was taking place in Ullal. They checked the girl’s documents are found that she was only 17 years old. Moreover, the girl was clearly not interested in the marriage.
The rescued teenager is now doing her I PUC in Government Women’s College, Balmatta. She told reporters that she is free at last. Sharing her experiences, she said that she tried her best to convince her parents and fiancée that she was not interested in getting married at such a young age and wanted to continue her studies, but nobody listened to her. She wants to continue her education and reach great heights.