This IPS Officer Eliminating Child Marriages Among Ignorant Tribals In Maharashtra’s Nandurbar
- Raghav Goyal
- Published on 18 Mar 2023, 9:23 am IST
- 3 minutes read
- IPS officer PR Patil, currently SP Nadurbar, has launched a drive to stop child marriages
- Nandurbar, a tribal-dominated district in Maharashtra, recorded a high number of cases especially during Covid
- People Asha workers, sarpanchs, police patils are being mobilized and awareness is being spread at the ground level
- Nandurbar police launched Operation Akshata to eradicate practice of child marriage
Ignorance is bliss but not always. Tribal-dominated Nandurbar district in Maharashtra is plagued with high number of child marriages as tribals aren’t aware of the law. Child marriages induces other plagues like lack of education, early motherhood and malnutrition. And at the root of all these problems is poverty, adding more misery to tribals’ life.
The situation hadn’t changed for so long that tribals had taken it as fait accompli. But, things are changing now at a fast pace as the current Superintendent of Police (SP), Mr. PR Patil has not only identified the malaise but also started administering a remedy.
Speaking to Indian Masterminds, IPS officer Mr Patil said, “There are a lot of cases of malnutrition in Nandurbar. Main reason behind it is the rising number of child marriages in the district. It is impacting both on the health of the newborns and the young mothers.”
Covid induced lockdown spawned over 15,000 child marriages. But there is no complaint nor is there any record because no case was reported. Mr. Patil said, “People were not aware that child marriage is an illegal practice and therefore were happily marrying their daughters at a young age.”
Many tribals from the district migrate to Surat and Western Maharashtra for work in the sugarcane industry. Mr. Patil found many girls returning pregnant after migration. The trend was noticed after young girls were admitted to the hospital for delivery.
That’s why on the occasion of International Women’s Day this year, Mr Patil, launched Operation Akshata to tackle this situation. The officer said, “Once I was called upon in a get together of Asha workers where all issues were discussed in details. I got to know how they were so much connected with every household and knew each and every activity in the vicinity. We thought that they could play an important role in stopping child marriages.”
Apart from the Asha workers, Mr. Patil has also mobilized social workers, police patils, sarpanches, nurses at primary health centres and police beat personnel. They were made aware that child marriage is illegal and all the sarpanches were made to take a vow to stop it. Mr. Patil said, “We used the police to bring those people around who didn’t listen to Asha workers.”
Police patils along with the beat officer would first try and counsel the couple and if they still didn’t follow the instructions, legal actions will be taken. Awareness programs through NGOs and social workers are also being run. They are conducting workshops and counselling sessions to help the people understand how this practice affects the life of the young girl.
Those cooperating are being felicitated with a certificate and a bouquet by the police department to incentivize the movement. The movement has been started in Taloda taluka and will soon be replicated in the whole district.
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