Thirteen Year old girl escapes marriage


13-yr-old says no to marriage in Rajasthan

Woman official came to teenager’s rescue, helped stop marriage

Police acted only on pressure

 


     Jaisalmer: A 13-year-old girl Asu Kunwar from Sedhana village, near Pokhran, stood up to her father who was bent on marrying her off to a 40-year-old man. He was forced to send back his prospective son-in-law after Asu put her foot down.
  

 

       Soon she had won her mother over to her side, but the father, who had already taken the bride price of Rs 49,000 tried to push her into wedlock this April, saying a date had already been fixed and a Rajput had to honour his word.

        Confronted by the empowered mother-daughter duo, Sawai Singh, meanwhile, reached out to the larger male-dominated community and village panchayat of Sedhana. He also went to the local police to seek their help, but they refused to intervene. 
        

        Petitioned by Sawai Singh, the village panchayat met and decided it was only fair that the man be allowed to marry the 13-year-old. Villagers then gathered around the girl’s house and tried to force her to agree to the wedding.
   

       Seeing the community against her, Asu’s mother went to Indu Chopra, a woman official of the local women and child development department. That’s when the official organised protection for the mother and child and warned the villagers to back off. A police force, which had till then stood as mute spectators, was then forced to step in and caution Asu’s father about the consequences of violating the ban on child marriage.
   

       Bhom Singh, villagers said, has now borrowed money from various sources to pay back the bride price.