ASIA/INDIA - Minors in tears because forced to marry

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 minors  

Kuntal Gupta

Chittorgarh (Agenzia Fides) - In Chittorgarh, a city of Rajasthan in northern India, where early marriage is widespread, a secret video shows child brides sobbing because they are forced to marry. Six marriages took place in two days around the Akshaya Tritiya, a Hindu festival believed to be auspicious for child marriages in rural India. In one clip a young girl of around ten-years-old is desperately crying and pleading for help as her father drags her around the customary ceremony. One of the child brides, a five-year-old, is seen dressed in a Hindu bridal dress and is forced to walk around the fire with her child groom, an 11-year-old. She is crying loudly but a man forces her to complete the Hindu wedding ritual, which involves walking around the fire seven times. A child rights activist and founder of Saarthi Trust, a charity for the welfare for child brides and other vulnerable children, has so far annuled 29 child marriages in Rajasthan and has stopped 850 child marriages. The legal age for girls and boys to marry in India is 18 and 21 respectively. India is home to a third of the world's total child brides. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 26/04/2016)