Tent owners in Jaipur have found an innovative way to curb child marriages — by deciding not to supply wedding tents for them.
47000 marriage tent dealers of the Rajasthan Tent Dealers Kiraya Vyavsai Samiti have decided not to supply tents and other wedding materials for child marriages. In the districts of Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, Banswara, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Churu, etc., child marriages are rampant.
“When anyone will come to book us to supply the tent and do other decorations, we will ask for the birth certificate of the boy and girl to ensure it is not child marriage. In case a person or group of persons gives us wrong information, we will immediately inform the nearby police and other government officials for the required intervention” said Ravi Jindal, speaking to The Times of India. “In the age certificate if we find that either bride or groom or both are minors we will not only say no to the booking we will also inform the police and other officers concerned” Jindal added.
This move came in the wake of the festival of Akha Teej, prior to which child marriages are on the rise as it is considered auspicious to solemnize the wedding during this time.
Although there are stringent child marriage laws in place in India, a UNICEF report states that 6 in 10 girls are married off as children in states such as Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand. Many girls aren’t even aware of the rights they are given by the law, and are prone to face violence and abuse, get pregnant as adolescents, be exposed to sexually-transmitted diseases, etc.
According to the Rajasthan annual health survey (2012-13), 15.2 percent females and 24 percent males are married off in Jaipur before the legal age. A report by Al Jazeeratalks about the rampant child marriages in India during Akha Teej, and the step taken by the tent owners in Rajasthan will hopefully rescue some children from the clutches of child marriage.