More than 2,000 men arrested in crackdown on illegal child marriages in India | World News

Indian police have arrested more than 2,000 men in a crackdown on illegal child marriage.

Among those arrested were more than 50 Hindu priests and Muslim clerics for allegedly organizing weddings for girls under the age of 18 in the northeastern state of Assam, police said.

Many cases of child marriage in Assam go unreported.

In India, men are allowed to marry at the age of 21 and women at the age of 18.

Television images showed several young women holding their babies crying and protesting the sudden arrest of their husbands.

One woman asked: “We struggled and somehow managed to make ends meet. But we are very happy together. Who will provide for us when my husband is arrested?”

Gyanendra State Police Chief Pratap Singh said early marriage is one of the reasons for the high maternal and infant mortality rates in the state.

Himanta Biswa Sarma, the state’s top elected official, said: “I have asked Assam police to act with zero tolerance for this heinous and unforgivable crime against women.”

India’s parliament is considering raising the age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 to match men and promote gender equality.

Poverty, lack of education and social norms and practices, especially in rural areas, are considered to be the causes of child marriage across the country.


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