No child should have to endure this sort of nonsense!
13-yr-old says no to marriage in RajasthanJAISALMER: A 13-year-old girl is revolting against a hoary tradition that has crushed many a childhood in Rajasthan – child marriage.
Refusing to crumble under social pressure, Asu Kunwar from Sedhana village, near Pokhran, stood up to her father who was bent on marrying her off to a 40-year-old for Rs 49,000 and a gold chain.
Bhom Singh now has to return the money to his prospective son-in-law in the face of resistance from Asu, who sought police protection.
Bhom Singh struck the deal with Sawai Singh two years ago, promising to give him his daughter’s hand when she was older. 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.
It’s illegal to sell babies in most parts of the world and for women to have sex for money (prostitution). Why is it acceptable in ANY society, tradition bound or not, to take money from an older man and then force your daughter to marry that man when she is still a child?! That father should be locked up, along with the prospective groom, and the girl and her mother should be honored as heros for human rights.