Chennai: An SMS sent to the city police control room (9500099100) changed the life of a teenage girl who was forced into marriage by her parents in Arumbakkam. Banu (name changed) (17), a plus-two student, chose to send an SMS to the control as a last resort to save herself from the unwanted marriage arranged at Tiruverkadu on Sunday. Banu, determined to continue her higher studies, was unable to fight her parents and sent her sad tale through the SMS. The city police took up her SMS as a complaint and rescued her from her house and called off the wedding.
The police took her to the ICCW (Indian Council for Child Welfare), a voluntary childcare home in the city. Ms Silvia of ICCW told DC that the parents were angry and upset that the wedding was cancelled. “We appreciated Banu for taking the right decision on time. When we told the parents that since Banu is a minor and her marriage would be invalid and also illegal, they said they were not aware of the legal procedures. They were disappointed, as they had invited their relatives for the wedding. We told them that they would be penalised for the child marriage,” said Ms Silvia.
To provide adequate care and protection to the girl, ICCW handed over Banu to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Friday. CWC member Sheila Mohan Charles told DC that Banu’s parents were warned that they would be punished for arranging her wedding. “We are glad that Banu was aware of the city police helpline and called them for help to stop the marriage. Though her parents were not convinced about calling off the wedding, they kept quiet when we explained to them that they would be taken to court for their act,” she said.