Mamata Banerjee’s crowning in WB buoys anti-BJP Third Front
There is little difference between Hindu and Muslim families when it comes to marrying off their daughters at an early age.
One in three married women from both communities tied the knot well before their 18th birthday, making them vulnerable to not just higher maternal mortality rates but also domestic violence.
Official statistics on married Indian women released on Friday show 31.3% Hindu women and 30.6% Muslim women were 17 or younger at the time of their wedding. Many of them hadn’t even turned 10.
The legal age for marriage is 18 for women and 21 for men. Any marriage below the stipulated age is considered child marriage under the law.
Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and Jain women fared far better, the census report on the decadal headcount in 2011 said. Only 6% of men were married before 18.
“It is shocking that decades after having laws prohibiting child marriage, the practice is still so rampant,” said Ranjana Kumari, director of the Delhi-headquartered Centre for Social Research.
Data released by the home ministry’s census commissioner revealed 6% of all Hindu women were married before they turned 10.
The corresponding figure for Muslim women was 5%. But the silver lining is that the practice is on the decline. The 2001 census found 43% of women were married before 18 years of age. In 2011, the figure stood at 30%.
Moves to form an anti-BJP federal front gained momentum on Friday as prominent regional leaders backed the idea at Mamata Banerjee’s second swearingin ceremony as West Bengal chief minister.
Taking the lead was former Bihar chief minister and (From left) Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Rashtriya Janata Dal (Dal) chief Lalu Prasad who said opposition unity was imperative.