Himanta Biswa Sarma Vows to End Child Marriage in Assam

Assam Chief Minister pledges to abolish child marriage, faces opposition in assembly.
Guwahati: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday came down heavily on Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and asserted that as long as he is alive, he will “not let child marriage take place in Assam".

He made the remarks in the Assam assembly where the Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) walked out of the House, in protest against the decision by the state Cabinet to repeal the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1935.

Responding angrily to the protesting Congress and AIUDF MLAs Mr Sarma said, "Listen you all. I will not let this happen as long as Himanta Biswa Sarma is alive...I would like to challenge you politically, I will shut down this shop before 2026,” he added.

He went on saying, “We will not rest in peace until we completely close the shop that you people have opened to ruin the daughters of the Muslim community.”

Pledging that he would eliminate child marriage in the state before 2026, Mr Sarma reiterated that that the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1935 will be repealed. Mr Sarma asserted that it was a step towards abolishing child marriage.

It is significant that the Assam Cabinet on Friday approved the decision to repeal the Act in a bid to end child marriage in the state.

Justifying the decision of the cabinet earlier Mr Sarma had said that the Muslim women of the state will get relief from “torture and exploitation" once the Act is repealed.

"The torture, and exploitation that has been going on against Muslim mothers for so long will come to an end with repeal of this act. The Prime Minister ended triple talaq. But in Assam only because of this act, a Kazi would not have been faulted if he had registered the marriage of a below 18-year-old girl and he used to get bail from the court. Now to give talaq will not be easy after the repeal of this act and there will be no registration of marriage below 18 years old girl," said Mr Sarma.

“The “obsolete pre-independence" era Act Act was repealed in a bid to end child marriages, the chief minister said while pointing out, “This Act contained provisions allowing marriage registration even if the bride and groom had not reached the legal ages of 18 and 21, as required by law.”

The AIUDF had moved an adjournment motion to discuss the cabinet decision in the assembly, which was rejected by Speaker Biswajit Daimary.

The Congress said that amendments could have been made to the original act without repealing it altogether.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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