Months after the launch of the first statewide drive against child marriage, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said that another operation to combat child marriages in the state will be launched in September this year.
While addressing to the superintendents of police (SPs) at a convention in Bogaigaon, CM Sarma urged all SPs of the state to prepare for more arrests as another round of action against child marriages will begin in the month of September this year, adding that legislative backing will be given to ensure prosecution of the accused held for polygamy and child marriages.
He said, “Whenever a child marriage comes to our notice we will have to prosecute the accused under POCSO as it is a secular Act and does not deal with any religion.”
“There are some vintage acts that have come to our notice. We will appeal them as it comes in the way of taking action against child marriage,” he added.
He informed that crime against women has drastically come down to 14,030 cases in 2022 as against 29,046 cases in 2021, much below the annual average of 27,240 cases between 2017-2021 while crime against children have come down to 4,084 as against 5,282 in the previous year.
“High profile cases must be tried in Special Courts, Special Public Prosecutors must be deployed and charge sheet must be filed in stipulated period in order to serve as deterrent for future,” CM Sarma said.
It may be mentioned that on January 23 this year, Assam CM announced a statewide drive against child marriage under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act stating, “Marrying a minor is not only against the law, but it also breaches the fundamental rights of a girl child and is quite dangerous to her health.”