8888677771 | 3,000 more to be arrested in 2nd round of Assam child marriage crackdown: CM Himanta Biswa Sarma | North East India News

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday announced that the state would launch the second round of its crackdown against child marriage within the next few days, during which he said another 3,000 people would be arrested.

In February this year, the Assam government had launched an unprecedented, punitive crackdown against child marriage in the state in which around 3,141 people had been arrested within a span of a month. Those arrested included men who had married underage girls as well as family members and religious leaders who had facilitated these marriages.

Addressing the National Executive of the BJP Mahila Morcha in Guwahati on Sunday, Sarma said, “Six months ago, I had gotten 5,000 people arrested for child marriage. I was waiting for G-20 [summit to conclude], and now, within 10 days, another 3,000 men will be arrested for child marriage,” he said.

“This (child marriage) needs to be stopped. There is a law made that this should not happen, but if this keeps happening time and again, then the daughters of a particular section will never be able to go ahead. They will always be the targets of oppression,” he added.

Earlier, Sarma had said that the second round of arrests would be specifically targeted at those who have participated in child marriage in the period after the last crackdown earlier this year.

An analysis of records of those arrested in the last crackdown showed that 62.24% of those arrested were Muslims, while the rest were Hindus and people from other communities.

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A district-wise break-up of the arrests showed that the top five districts in terms of the number of arrests were Nagaon (224), Hojai (219), Dhubri (217), Baksa (179) and Barpeta (174). In Baksa, a Lower Assam district with a mixed population, Hindus and others constitute 62.64% of those arrested. The other four districts are Muslim-dominated.

“Today, some people say that I am anti-Muslim. But I think that by ending [triple] talaaq, polygamy and child marriage, the amount of work we’re doing for Muslims, no government of the Congress has ever done. We don’t see them as a vote back. We want that there be liberty and freedom for women from oppression,” Sarma said.

Since the last crackdown, Sarma has said on different occasions that the government was working towards “completely eradicating” child marriage in Assam by 2026.

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