The Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Border Security Force (BSF) saved a 15-year-old Assam girl from a forced marriage with a 20-year-old-boy. The incident took place in at Nilambazar area in the Karimganj district (near Indo-Bangladesh International Border) on July 14.
According to BSF officials, after being informed about child marriage, the BOP Bilbari Intelligence staff and troops of 134 Bn BSF of Nilambazar launched a joint operation at Kaboi. They also asked the local police to arrive, but only after they captured the culprits in action, reported Hindustan Times.
Sources claimed that AHTU went to the village secretly. Around 4 PM, they entered the house where the wedding rituals were taking place and seized the priest and the parents of both the boy and the girl. The girl has been sent to a children protection home in the area. The rest have been handed over to the police.
According to the officials, in these cases, if they do not capture the culprits red-handed, there is very little chance of them saving the girl. Even in the past, they have received a lot of information but have not been able to catch the culprits as they have escaped. Child marriage is a sensitive issue which needs to be addressed more carefully, especially in border areas," said the officials.
Nilambazar Police Station Officer-in-charge Kamlesh Singh confirmed that both the boy and the girl had not yet reached the legal marriageable age. Following this, a case under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) 2006 and some additional charges have been booked against the parents and the priest.
Singh has also noted that after finding out that the girl's mother is a widow and financially unstable, they permitted her to go home on humanitarian grounds. Further investigation is going on in this case.
In the Barak Valley area that shares a large international border with Bangladesh, child marriages and trafficking cases are often reported. As per police sources, several such cases get reported, and the culprits get detained. Yet it is a rampant practise among the financially weaker sections.
Also read: Assam Accord: 1.4 Lakh Illegal Immigrants Identified; 30,000 Deported