GUWAHATI, Sept 29 - Assam is witnessing a rising trend of incidents of child marriage.
The number of cases of child marriage in the State touched 317 in 2017-18 as against 96 cases in 2016-17 and 32 cases in 2015-16.
Altogether, there were 445 cases of child marriage reported in Assam between 2015-16 and 2017-18. This was stated in a written reply to the Legislative Assembly on Friday by Minister for Social Welfare Pramila Rani Brahma.
Among all the districts, Kamrup reported the highest number of child marriage cases during past three years. There were 80 cases in Kamrup district. It was followed by 44 cases in Barpeta and 40 in Dibrugarh. There were 24 cases of child marriage in Kamrup (Metro) district, which includes Guwahati city.
Brahma said steps have been taken to deal with the menace. The minister said that notification of the State Child Marriage Prohibition Rule has been issued to prevent such cases.
In addition, the District Child Protection Officers have been given the additional role to serve as Child Marriage Prohibition Officers.
Child Protection Groups and Child Welfare Committees have been formed in all districts to prevent incidents of child marriage. Appointments have been given to Protection Officers and Legal-cum-Probation Officers.
Steps have also been taken to create awareness against child marriage in the State by holding Girl Child Day, Children�s Rights Day and other events.
In addition, information and communication materials are being regularly sent to various districts by the concerned departments to help in the effort to prevent such incidents, the minister added.
Child helpline number 1098 (toll-free) operated by Childline India Foundation is operational in 11 districts of Assam.