In­dian TV soap opera glo­ri­fy­ing child mar­riage taken off air af­ter wide­spread protests

Global Times - - Life -

An In­dian tele­vi­sion soap opera that shows a 10- year- old boy mar­ried to a 19- year- old woman has been pulled off air fol­low­ing protests from view­ers who said it glo­ri­fied child mar­riage.

The Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing said it had asked for a re­view of the show by an in­de­pen­dent broad­cast­ing au­thor­ity af­ter it re­ceived a pe­ti­tion ques­tion­ing the in­flu­ence the soap would have on view­ers.

“There were nu­mer­ous com­plaints about the con­tent of the show and we sent it for re­view,” said an of­fi­cial in the min­istry, re­quest­ing anonymity.

“The show was pushed to a late night slot with a dis­claimer first and has now been taken off air.”

The last episode of the show Pehredar Piya Ki ( Hus­band’s Guard) was aired on Fri­day, end­ing weeks of con­tro­versy over its por­trayal of child mar­riage, which though il­le­gal re­mains wide­spread in many parts of the coun­try.

The le­gal age for mar­riage in In­dia is 18 for women and 21 for men.

In­dia has been crack­ing down on child mar­riage and cam­paign­ers said that such por­tray­als in the me­dia could dent progress.

The show, which went on air in July, prompted a change. org pe­ti­tion urg­ing In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani to ban it. The pe­ti­tion gar­nered nearly 50,000 sig­na­tures, just 48 hours af­ter its launch.

The pe­ti­tioner Mansi Jain ques­tioned the in­flu­ence the soap would have and said it showed the child per­form mar­riage rit­u­als such as putting ver­mil­lion on the older ac­tor play­ing his wife.

In a statement is­sued on Mon­day, Sony En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion – a pop­u­lar Hindi- lan­guage gen­eral en­ter­tain­ment chan­nel in In­dia – said it had pulled the pro­gram off the air.

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