Bachpan Bachao Andolan conducts consultation towards Child Marriage Free State

  • Law enforcement agencies cooperating

Bhopal: With the aim to end child marriage in India by 2030, BachpanBachaoAndolan (BBA) founded by Nobel Peace Laureate KailashSatyarthi organized a state consultation in collaboration with Department of School Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh. The consultation engaged and involved multiple stakeholders to intensify the fight against child marriage. The aim was to mobilise all stakeholders of child protection to move together and help in the realisation of child marriage free Madhya Pradesh under the larger vision of Child marriage free India. This consultation is a result of clarion call given by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthiji last year to end child marriage. It is the world’s largest grassroots movement against child marriage led by 76000 women.

The key dignitaries present on this occasion included, Chief Guest, Navnit Kumar Godha, Retd. District Judge, Registrar, MP State Human Rights Commission; Ms. Manisha Sentiya, Additional Project Director, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan, Government of Madhya Pradesh; Ashok Kumar Chauhan, Joint Director, Panchayat& Rural Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh; Ms Pinky Jiwnani, Assistant Inspector General of Police, WSB, MP Police Headquarter. All the stakeholders deliberated through the consultation and created a roadmap to make Madhya Pradesh Child Marriage Free.

DhananjayTingal, Executive Director, BBA said, “When Nobel Laureate KailashSatyarthiji gave the clarion call last year, the Nation saw an unprecedented and overwhelming response from the entire country. Over 76000 women in 7028 villages across the country last year took to streets to raise their voice against child marriage in just one single day. This consultation will be held in 20 states and is yet another step towards realising our collective dream to make India child marriage free by 2030. To fight and uproot child marriages completely, we need a multipronged and multidimensional strategy. Through these consultations, we aim to bring together the various stake holders so that they can work in tandem to fight this crime. We will leave no stone unturned in our fight against this social evil and commitment shown by one and all only strengthens our determination and zeal.” The consultation is also supported by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.

Laying out a well-etched plan to end child marriages in the state, Navnit Kumar Godha, Retd. District Judge, Registrar, MP State Human Rights Commission, said at the consultation that there needs to be a close scrutiny of the vulnerable areas where incidents of child marriage are high. “We need to closely survey the sections of the society where child marriages are more rampant and take actions accordingly. To reach the remotest of our areas with the message, we need to rope in the leaders from these communities who can share with them the evils of child marriage. Such preventive measures are very important if we want to end child marriages from amongst us.”

Ms. ManishaSentiya, Additional Project Director, SamagraShikshaAbhiyaan, Government of Madhya Pradesh underscored the importance of education and formulating a more holistic approach as two important tools in making the state child marriage free. “We are already working on making children aware of social evils like child marriage in our schools but we now need to address the children who have either dropped out of schools or have never been in one. Work is being done at different levels, but if all the stakeholders join hands and collaborate, there is no reason why child marriage cannot be eradicated from our society. A holistic and collaborated approach is the answer to end this evil.”

Highlighting the adverse impact of child marriage on children and why we must act to stop the social evil, Manish Sharma, Director, BachpanBachaoAndolan, said, “The issue of child marriage needs to be prioritized and should be looked as a crime against children. All stakeholders like government agencies and law enforcement agencies must make collective effort to stop the practice in the state.”

According to Census 2011 report, 51,57,863 girls in India and around 8.92 lakh children were married off before turning 18 in Madhya Pradesh. This is a cause of grave concern and requires immediate action to protect young girls from the evil of child marriage. The National Family Health Survey-V (NFHS 2019-21) reports that nationally 23.3% women between the age group of 20-24 were married off before attaining the age of 18. While, Madhya Pradesh reported 23.1% of women in the same age group were married before the age of 18.

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