Fearing child marriages, Rajasthan’s Bundi village to carry age proof of groom, bride on wedding cards  

Bundi: Wedding cards in Bundi will carry the date of birth of groom and bride and a statutory warning that child marriage is punishable ahead of the Akshaya Tritiya festival that sees many children being married off every year in Rajasthan. The festival falls on May 7 this year and many children are secretly married off on this day in Rajasthan. The district administration has constituted teams of school principals, land record inspectors, gram sevak, anganwadi workers and ‘satheen’ to keep an eye over such marriages and take prompt legal action against those involved in solemnisation of child marriages, officials said.

Bundi District Collector Rukmani Riyar has asked the district officials to keep a constant watch over their respective areas. Teams should keep a watch over various activities in their area like whitewashing in homes, henna on children’s palm, absence of children from school, playing of band, booking of priests and vehicles.

If any child marriage is taking place, the team needs to immediately inform Tehsildar and police station and immediate steps should to be taken to restrict parents and family members involved in such marriages, officials have been told. The Bundi collector has directed printing press proprietors to obtain birth certificate of would-be bride and groom and print their date of birth on respective wedding cards and also carry a statutory warning that ‘child marriage is a punishable crime and for marriage, the girl and the boy should respectively be over 18 and 21 years of age’.

Traders associated with tent and light decoration would also display the same statutory warning, she has directed. The violation of order would be punishable, she added. The district collector has directed sub divisional magistrate [SDM] and Tehsildar to set up a 24-hour control room at their respective offices 15 days prior to Akshaya Tritiya on May 7 and to maintain a register to record child marriage.

Deputy director, ICDS would be the nodal officer for prevention of child marriages in the district, the collector directed. Sub divisional magistrate and deputy district magistrate will check child marriages. These officials would be responsible for any child marriage in their respective areas and if any such marriage takes place, action, as per rule, would be initiated against them, she said.

The Bundi district administration has also set up a control room at district collector office that would be functional from April 22 to May 25. The district collector has also asked the chief executive officer and development officer to carry out awareness activities at panchayat-level to prevent child marriages. District education officers of elementary and secondary schools have been asked to observe anti-child marriage programme in schools besides organizing rallies and debate competitions on the ill effects of child marriage.

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