Bengaluru: "A national survey has revealed that 23.2 per cent of child marriages in India take place in Karnataka. Strangely, lack of toilets in villages occasionally leads to girls being married off when they are still children. Other factors include poverty, lack of education, and fear of leaving a girl alone at home by working parents," said Dr, Kripa Amar Alva, chairman of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) at a press conference here on Friday.
Explained Mr. Mariswamy, a member of the KSCPCR , " Sometimes when the girls hit puberty, the lack of proper toilets in their schools or localities begin to worry parents, who marry them off to grooms from places that have them."
Child marriages are often performed within the four walls of a house, or outside the state, according to Dr Alva.“The female children are literally sold for between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000 to grooms. Sometimes 13- year- old girls are married to 35- year- old men, " he said, adding that North Karnataka suffers most from this social evil, with Yadagiri, Belgaum, Bagalkote,Bellary, Kalaburgi and Gulbarga being some of the worst affected.
"Inter departmental co-ordination is poor. They know, yet they don't want to know and may turn a blind eye. The police do not register suo moto cases and wash their hands off them," added Dr. Alva
Revealing that a massive campaign was being launched against child marriage, aimed at reaching every nook and corner of Karnataka on January 21, he emphasised that it was not mere tokenism. “It will start at the gram panchayat level and go all the way to the top. An interactive website , KARE, will be launched to handle complaints involving child rights. It will register the complaint and notify the concerned department as well as the KSCPCR. Quick resolution of cases is the aim. The unresolved ones will go upto the principal secretary and finally the CM,"
Revealing that the anti- child marriage campaign and 'KARE' would be launched at Vidhan Soudha by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, he said the state had a three year target to eliminate child marriage. The major departments involved are the police, education, panchayat, children and women.
Features of the campaign
- The KARE website ensures a time frame to resolve complaints.
- If a child registers a complaint of sexual abuse, it goes directly to the local superintendent of police.
- Facebook and Twitter will be part of the upcoming campaign.