Child Marriages surged in Maharashtra during Lockdown, says State Women’s Commission Chief

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Maharashtra, August 29, 2023: Maharashtra Women’s Commission chief Rupali Chakankar has raised an alarm over the distressing escalation of child marriages in the state since the imposition of COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Speaking at a press conference in Latur on Monday, Chakankar shared her concerns, pointing out that the incidence of child marriages has risen significantly, although specific statistics and timeframes were not provided.

Chakankar disclosed, “In Latur alone, we intervened to stop 37 child marriages, and legal actions were initiated in connection with two of these cases.” While she refrained from presenting concrete statewide numbers, she emphasized the gravity of the situation.

Highlighting the urgent need for action, Chakankar stressed the importance of gram sabhas (village councils) taking decisive measures to curb child marriages. She called for stringent actions against all involved parties, including those producing wedding invitations for such illicit unions.

Chakankar attributed this concerning surge to a potential “communication gap” between parents and children, driven by the widespread use of mobile phones and technology. She postulated that this gap might contribute to instances where young girls fall in love and choose to elope.

To address this disconcerting trend, Chakankar urged the police’s ‘Damini Squad’, a specialized initiative dedicated to protecting women and girls—to engage more actively with young girls to ensure their safety. “Under the Mahila Aayog Aplya Dari initiative, we have successfully resolved around 18,000 complaints from 28 districts,” Chakankar informed. Furthermore, she shared that on the day of the press conference, “Latur received 93 complaints, and we are deploying three panels to expedite their resolution.”

Among the attendees were MLC Vikram Kale, Collector Varsha Thakur-Ghuge, Superintendent of Police Somay Munde, and ZP Chief Executive Officer Anmol Sagar.

The Women’s Commission’s call for swift and effective actions seeks to address this pressing issue and ensure the well-being of the state’s youth.

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