Sunday, August 19, 2012

That’s one was to get out of a wedding !!

Found this article on the “Daily Mail” website:


Teenage boy saves himself from forced marriage by texting Indian authorities to report his family


Prakash Prajapat, 16, contacted authorities when his parents tried to force him to marry a 13-year-old girl

A teenage boy escaped being forced into an arranged marriage in India by reporting his own family to the authorities.

Prakash Prajapat, 16, from Jodhpur, in western Indian, was due to marry a thirteen-year-old girl from a neighbouring town who had been chosen by his parents.

Prakash was only told of his impending marriage the week before the planned ceremony and contacted a charity asking for help.

The young couple had never met and Prakash begged his family not to force him into the marriage but they refused to relent.

He then contacted the Sarathi Trust for child marriages, which then sent a police team to put a stop to the illegal ceremony just moments before Prakash was due to say his vows.

Child weddings are still rife in rural India despite the marriage of a girl aged below 18 or a boy aged below 21 being illegal under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006.

Kriti Bharti, who heads Sarathi Trust, a campaign group against child marriages, said: ‘When I first met Prakash, he cried and pleaded for my help. He was desperate not to marry.

'I met his father in a bid to stop the marriage but he lied and told me his son was an adult. He ordered me to stay out of the family matter.’

The families got apprehensive about Kriti’s involvement and decided to move the ceremony to a different date in a secret location.

But as Prakash was led to marry the young girl he had never met just days later, he texted Kriti his whereabouts from his mobile phone and she organised a team of police officers to stop the proceedings.

Apprehended: Prakash's father pictured being confronted by police officers over the arranged marriage

The family members then attempted to trick the police by presenting a fake groom but they were still arrested.

The parents were taken to court and banned from marrying the young bride and the groom for five years.

Despite this, the following day they attempted to marry the boy and girl again but Prakash again contacted Kriti who arrived at the ceremony with a team of officers.

She added: ‘The police took them to court again and again they were warned and banned from trying to marry the children. But I suspect nothing will stop them. 

Extreme measures: The families even presented police with a fake groom, pictured left, hoping they would be able to continue with the arranged marriage once officers departed

Court order: The parents were banned from marrying the young boy and girl for five years but attempted another ceremony the following day

'These are very illiterate families who only know to follow tradition, no matter how illegal.

‘I can only hope Prakash continues to message me if they try again. I keep in touch with him every day to be sure he’s okay.’

According to UNICEF Child marriage negatively affects a child’s development, education, health and future.

Children in India who marry young are more likely to drop out of school, have a low paid job, and limited decision-making power at home.

Child marriage is widespread all over India, affecting all social groups, but it’s more common in rural areas and among excluded communities, castes and tribes.

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