Hyderabad: Proving just how crucial it is to stop minor girls from being married off is the case of sports star Boddupally Anusha. The 16-year-old who was rescued last year before she could be married off, went on to give a smashing performance in the national level cricket tournament held recently in Madhya Pradesh and will be playing in the Under-19 rugby game to be held at LB Stadium.
Anusha was rescued in April 2017 after police received a tip off about her impending marriage. Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh M. Bhagwat had promised her that the police would be her caretakers and she could always approach them. A visibly excited Anusha went to the police station on Tuesday to thank the officers for giving her what she called ‘a second lease of life.’
She was always interested in sports, but her family just wanted her married off. “It is high time we put an end to discrimination against women. Families should encourage fair play between the sexes. We cannot keep living in the dark ages,” said Mr Bhagwat.
The groom, family members and middle men were booked under the Child Marriage Prohibition Act 2006 and sent to two years prison with a fine of Rs 1 lakh. Padmavati P., an activist, said, “It is important that Anusha becomes an example, as child marriages are increasing even in urban areas. There needs to be more awareness about them.”
Raghava Reddy, Anusha’s physical director, says it was a good thing the marriage was stopped. “The school authorities called her back to complete rest of her education and even now, she practices in our school grounds.”
According to statistics released by MV Foundation, Mahbubnagar district has the highest percentage of married girls. In the age group of 15-19 years (26.2 per cent), followed by Ranga Reddy (21.1 per cent), Nalgonda (21.5 per cent), and Khammam and Medak (21 per cent).
TS told to take steps on child marriages
Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday directed Telangana government to spell out steps taken for the welfare of the girls who were victims of child marriage.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice K. Vijaya Lakshmi was dealing with a suo motto taken up PIL based on a letter by 11 victims seeking the court’s intervention to provide them reservations in jobs and education and extra food distribution to their children. The victims brought to the notice of the CJ that some girl children died during pregnancy and delivery and their children were weak and had several ailments.
The victims said only 18 per cent of those in the 15-19 age group were covered under different social protection schemes. Owing to non-availability of shelter homes, they were forced to get back to their families where they are subjected to drudgery, violence and abuse. Issuing notices to the state government and authorities concerned, the bench granted four weeks to file the counter.