Hyderabad, June 4 (IANS) Acting on a case of child marriage, police in Telangana’s Medchal district near Hyderabad have registered a case against a 21-year-old man for marrying a 16-year-old girl.
The marriage took place in the Mutyalamma Temple of Kandlakoya village on June 1, which was incidentally the International Children’s Day, but it came to light the next day and the police finally registered a case late Wednesday.
Shivarathri Raju alias Srinu, a construction worker, his parents, the bride’s parents, Gondlapochampally Municipal Vice Chairman Prabhakar and others were booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 376 (rape) and section 366 (inducing a minor to marry). They were also booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 and Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.
The girl has been rescued by the police and the department of women development and child welfare and shifted to a government-run care centre.
The police swung into action after Achyuta Rao, Honorary President, Balala Hakkula Sangham, an NGO working for child rights, took up the issue with the Cyberabad Police Commissioner V. C. Sajjanar.
“We are also demanding that the village elders who were present and the priest of the temple who performed the marriage should also be booked,” Rao told IANS.
Though the First Information Report (FIR) registered at the Medchal police station mentions the girl’s age as 16 years, the child rights activist claimed that she is just 12 and studying in sixth class.
The victim is the daughter of a couple from Andhra Pradesh who had migrated in search of work a few years ago. They were working as construction labourers in Medchal district. Raju, also a construction labourer, developed acquaintance with the girl and they reportedly fell in love.
The issue led to a dispute between two families and finally the village elders intervened to arrange the marriage at a local temple.