ANI Photo | Assam police cracks down on child marriages, over 800 arrested

In an effort to combat the deeply concerning issue of child marriages, Assam Police launched a large-scale operation in the early hours of dawn, resulting in the arrest of over 800 individuals.
The operation, which is part of a broader initiative led by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, is aimed at eliminating the practice of child marriage in the state.
Himana Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam, posted on X, β€œIn a massive crackdown against child marriage, Assam Police has arrested over 800 accused persons in a special operation which began in the early hours of dawn. The number of arrests is likely to rise.”
On September 19, Deputy Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly, Dr Numal Momin, reaffirmed the government’s unwavering commitment to addressing the problem of child marriages.
He emphasized that the government would spare no effort to eradicate this harmful practice.
Dr Momin stressed the health-related complications that often arise when underage girls become pregnant due to early marriages.
To safeguard the well-being of young girls, he asserted that the government was determined to stop child marriages “at any cost.”
In the initial phase of this operation, Assam Police had already arrested approximately 5,000 individuals, including 15 clerics suspected of involvement in child marriages.
Deputy Speaker Momin praised CM Sarma’s resolute stance and announced that similar crackdowns against child marriages would be conducted every six months.
He expressed optimism that child marriages would be eliminated in Assam by 2026.
Regarding the minimum age for marriage, Dr Momin proposed that it should be raised to 21 for girls. He also expressed concerns about the role of certain clerics, stating that they often view the issue purely from a religious perspective, while fake clerics are allegedly involved in facilitating such marriages.
The government is committed to enacting robust legislation to combat child marriages effectively.
In September, the Hailakandi district police arrested 15 individuals believed to be “fake clerics” linked to child marriages. To further investigate the involvement of clerics in child marriages, the state government formed a five-member committee.
The committee, led by Advocate General Devajit Lon Saika, is tasked with drafting legislation that may include provisions to ban polygamy, address inter-faith marriages involving false identities, and scrutinize the role of clerics in child marriage cases.
This committee is expected to submit its proposed legislation to the government within 45 days, according to a notification issued by the Political Department of the state government on September 13.
The committee comprises members such as the Director General of Police of Assam GP Singh, Nalin Kohli (senior additional advocate general), Ramen Baruah (Legal Remembrancer and Secretary, Judicial Department), and Biswajit Pegu (Secretary of Home and Political Department), who serves as the member secretary of the committee

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