Shockingly enough, child marriage continues to be prevalent in India.
In December, 2010 CHILDLINE Coimbatore received a call from a well-infomed lady who shared information on a mass marriage, scheduled to happen in the village of Karadimadai.
A team member of CHILDLINE decided to visit the village to gather some facts on the situation. After speaking with Ujjwala, a 13 year girl, he learnt that her marriage was preset by her parents with a farmer of the village who was 10 years older than her. The marriage was planned to coincide with the auspicious period of Valarpirai, the phase of the waxing moon after Amavasya, in the Tamil month of Karthikai.
After much interrogation, U Santhanam, the Director of CHILDLINE Coimbatore wrote a complaint to P.Umanath, District Collector, informing him about the gravity of the issue at hand. Immediate action was undertaken in which the CHILDLINE team members, District Collector, Village Administrative Officer, Superintendent of Police and 50 Police Personnel arrived at the village to stop the marriage.
After the parents of the children refused to cooperate and show any proof of the age of the child, the Police threatened to get them arrested for their illegal act. It took a lot of convincing and persuasion for the community to understand the dangers of child marriage.
In a bold initiative against child marriage, CHILDLINE Coimbatore and the Coimbatore district administration jointly foiled mass marriage and rescued 9 children. They also received coverage for the case in The Indian Express, The Hindu, The Times of India and local TV channels.