KALAIGAON, July 15 - It was a never seen before protest by thousands of women from Bhergaon subdivision who came out to the streets to say no to child marriage and assembled at Tangla town on July 13 on the occasion of �Child marriage awareness programme� launched by Udalguri district administration in association with ROSS (Rural Social Service Organisation), an NGO of Udalguri working in various children welfare issues; District Social Welfare Office, Udalguri; District Legal Service Authority, Udalguri; District Social Welfare Office, Udalguri and Mahila Samata Society, Udalguri.
The programme was held at Bordoloi Smriti Bhaban at Tangla at 11 am. More than a thousand people, mostly women, took out an awareness rally through the streets of Tangla town requesting people to come forward to raise their voice against child marriage.
The rally was guided by DN Hazarika, SDO (S) Udalguri, Prof Binoy Medhi and Dimple Baruah, Assistant Commissioner, Udalguri. Later, an awareness meeting was held at Bordoloi Smriti Bhaban, which was presided over by Manik Sarma, former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha, Udalguri district committee. Gautam Saharia, District Child Protection Officer, Udalguri spoke a few words in the meeting followed by introduction and felicitation ceremony conducted by Nilakshi Bordoloi, In-Charge of DSWO (District Social Welfare Office), Udalguri.
Dimple Baruah, Assistant Commissioner, Udalguri, while speaking on the importance of prohibition of child marriage, said that child marriage has been prevailing in rural villages in Udalguri district due to lack of awareness and economic compulsion. She also expressed her concern over the fact that due to ignorance, poor people in the villages had been arranging child marriages defying existing laws forbidding marriage of boys and girls below 21 and 18 respectively.
She wondered as to how could a girl of below 18 years take the burden of maintaining a big family besides taking care of elderly people and small children.
She requested all parents, Anganwadi workers and members of NGOs to create awareness among people so that child marriage could be abolished totally. The session was also addressed by Udayaditya Gogoi, SDO (C), Bhergaon; Keshab Dutta, president of Udalguri District Bar Association; Binoy Kumar Medhi and Binapani Devi, Chairman of CPC (Children Protection Committee, Udalguri). A drama was also staged by the women of Tangla on the consequences of child marriage.