Thursday, 26 April 2012

Indian child bride annuls marriage in landmark case

 
An Indian woman who was married off at the age of 1 has had her 17-year marriage annulled in a landmark case challenging the culture of child weddings in parts of the country.
According to Agence France Presse, Laxmi Sargara, from Rajasthan, was  married to a boy named Rakesh when the former was just 12 months and the latter 3.  Their families reportedly decided that when they grew up they would live together and have children.
Child marriages, outlawed in India in 1929, are still common in many parts of the country, especially in rural and poorer communities.
A Unicef report says 47 percent of married women in India wed before age 18. Unicef also says 40 percent of the world's child marriages take place in India.
"I was unhappy about the marriage,” Sargara, now 18, told AFP. “I told my parents who did not agree with me, then I sought help. Now I am mentally relaxed and my family members are also with me."
Girls married off in infancy often remain in their parents' homes until they reach puberty and then are taken amid great celebrations to their husbands’ families.
When Sargara just days ago discovered that she was married and would be sent to her husband’s home this week, she sought advice from social worker Kriti Bharti, who runs the children’s rights group Sarathi Trust, AFP said.
Bharti negotiated with Rakesh, the groom, who only uses one name, and both families to persuade them that the marriage was unfair.
"It is the first example we know of a couple wed in childhood wanting the marriage to be annulled, and we hope that others take inspiration from it," Bharti told AFP.
According to a recent BBC survey, 10 percent of all girls in Rajasthan are married off before they reach the age of 18.
- UKAsian Staff

Indian child bride annuls marriage in landmark case

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