SAVING CHILDHOODS: In crackdown on child marriages, India arrests 1,000 in northeast

India is home to more than 220 million child brides, according to UN

By Web Desk
October 03, 2023
An Indian child bride during a mass wedding ceremony. — AFP

More than 1,000 people were detained on Tuesday in India's far northeast during the second government crackdown on unlawful child marriages in the area this year, as per police.

India is home to more than 220 million child brides, according to UN figures, but the number of child weddings has fallen dramatically this century.


Assam state had already arrested 4,000 people in an earlier abolition drive in February, including parents of married couples and registrars who signed off on underage betrothals.

The state´s chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that police had launched a second phase of the campaign "in a special operation which began in the early hours of dawn".

"The number of arrests is likely to rise," he wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter. "The number now stands at 1,039."

Sarma has campaigned on a platform of stamping out child marriages completely in his state by 2026.

The legal marriage age in India is 18 but millions of children are forced to tie the knot when they are younger, particularly in poorer rural areas.

Many parents marry off their children in the hope of improving their financial security.

The results can be devastating, with girls dropping out of school to cook and clean for their husbands and suffering health problems from giving birth at a young age.

In a landmark 2017 judgment, India´s top court said that sex with an underage wife constituted rape, a ruling cheered by activists.