Chennai: Highlighting the need for a new state plan of action to reduce the incidence of child marriage, the department of social welfare, Indian Council of Child Welfare and Unicef collaborated on a presentation -Retrospective Appraisal on Prevention of Child Marriage in Tamil Nadu. It was released on Monday.
The review, aimed at the determinants of child marriages stopped in the year 2017. "The total number of cases reported from January to December in 2017 was 1636. Questionnaires and interview method of research was used. Finally, 1156 cases were used and the rest were rejected due to incomplete data," said Girija Kumarbabu, general secretary, Indian Council of Child Welfare-TN
The report found that there were two types of child marriages in the state- one decided by the children themselves(such as love affair - 95 per cent, or broken families - 4 per cent) and the other by the family(due to economic reasons - 33 per cent, fear of love - 17 per cent or preferential marriages - 11 per cent).
The system lacks the strength to combat child marriage in the state, the report said, asserting that the Child Marriage Prevention Officers face a lot of challenges. There is a lack of cooperation and coordination among the rescue team. There is no clarity of their roles and that causes confusion, the report noted.
Further, the report observed that action was not taken as much as it should in cases of child marriages.
The unreported cases were more in number than reported cases, which was usually only through the Childline- 1098. "Gram Sevika and Mukhya Sevika hardly identify child marriage cases on their own due to fear of community rejection as being a part of the same community.
Speaking to the press after releasing the report, M.P. Nirmala, chairperson, State Commission on the Protection of Child Rights, appealed to Kollywood to refrain from depicting explicit romance involving school children.
"Cinema is a hugely influencing medium in Tamil Nadu. We have seen movies where a boy proposes to a girl in a school uniform, asking her to marry him. To punish the makers of these films, a case of Prevention of Child Marriage Act and also Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) will also be slapped against them," she said.
Politicians in the state have been rallying against the influence of unhealthy practices being glamourised in cinema.
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss has repeatedly campaigned against having scenes of smoking and drinking in movies taking on actors like Rajni and Vijay.
Their scenes would certainly have a negative influence on the younger generation, he believes....