Akshay Tritya, which falls tomorrow this year, is likely to see a number of child marriages across rural Rajasthan especially Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Barmer divisions. But the administration and police are gearing up to prevent such marriages, which is likely to affect the childhood of scores of children.
According to figures, Rajasthan is a state where 68.3 per cent of girls are married below 18 years and 30 per cent of women die during child birth, many of whom have been married underage.
And at least 60 per cent of children who die early have parents who have been married underage.
Home minister Gulab Chand Kataria has instructed 711 police stations and 788 outposts to take the help of priests, temple administration, band groups and mare owners to find out about the child marriages being held on the day.
Mr Kataria has instructed that the police personnel will be held responsible if even one child marriage is reported from any where in the state.
This would be the first year when the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (Sharda Act) is being strictly imposed in the state. Under this Act, even the priest, bandmen would be considered the guilty party. The guilty party can be awarded a sentence of two years and fined upto Rs 1 lakh. Women have been kept out of the purview of this Act.
The new Act has replaced the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929.