The director general of police in Assam, Gyanendra Pratap Singh on Wednesday informed that as per directives of the chief minister, Assam Police will carry out two operations yearly until the social evil that is child marriage is eradicated from the state.
Addressing a press briefing at Assam Police Headquarters in Guwahati, the DGP mentioned that there has been a marked decline in cases of child marriage, however, the problem still persists, conceded GP Singh.
He said, "Since our first operation against child marriage, we have noticed that cases have come down in most parts of the state. However, in some regions, the issue still persists."
The Assam DGP briefed about the drive against child marriage in the state. In the first drive which was launched in the month of February 2023, a total of 4,515 cases were registered and 3,483 personnel were arrested. Out of the cases registered in the first phase, 95.5% of the cases have already been charge-sheeted.
GP Singh said, "In the months of June, July and August, our exercises led us to uncover 710 cases of child marriage, which were registered with 1,100 accused named, out of which 915 personnel have been arrested so far. According to directives from the chief minister we will carry out two operations yearly until this evil is abolished from Assam."
"I believe that from the progress that we have made in the first two phases, as per the data available with us, the numbers have declined and it will probably take two more years to completely weed out child marriage from Assam," added the DGP.
He further said, "Next time after around six to eight months when we carry out our third phase of the operation, we will understand the progress. I don't think that the problem will persist much longer as people who indulge in the practice will understand that the legal costs if they are found guilty and the fact that they can simply wait two, three, four years before tying the knot, make the prospect of child marriage impractical."
Asked about setting up call centres across Assam so that the police force keeps getting information of cases of child marriage and can subsequently take appropriate action, the Assam DGP said that the police force already has enough facilities set up and it regularly gets information of such cases and takes action promptly. He said, "I want to add that since February, we are taking regular action against such cases. Its not like we will wait for a special drive. We will take action whenever required and additionally carry out such special drives."
DGP GP Singh was then asked to comment on the recent incident of ULFA-I executed two of its own cadres on alleged charges of spying, to which he said, "I don't see any reason in going and joining an organization which has no law governing it. They kidnap and kill their own cadres; we have several such cases. According to me, if they stay here and help in the building of the state, it will be more beneficial for Assam. I don't believe in Kangaroo Courts, but they should al least return the bodies to the families."
Finally, the Assam DGP couldn't hide his grin when asked about Lovlina Borgohain's success at the Asian Games 2023. He said, "I am very happy as the DGP of the state police; I cant be more proud of the fact that our DSP has brought a silver medal for us. She will be returning in about 10 days and then we will all be able to hold the medal. Otherwise, where we will get the chance to hold and Asian Games medal."