BENGALURU: While one would expect that child marriages do not happen in a metropolitan city like Bengaluru, the ground reality is different. Though the numbers are coming down, cases of acid attacks, harassment, child marriages still continue against despite the awareness campaigns by the Women and Child Development Department.
Instances of child marriage, though continuing to be reported, are however reducing gradually in the city with either the victim or her friends coming forwarded to informing the WCD Department before marriage. There were 28 cases reported so far in 2022-23, whereas the number of cases in 2021-22 was 38.
Deputy Director of the Women and Child Development Department Nishchal said, “We extend financial assistance for acid attack victims after medical report comes in. Apart from providing financial help, we also take care of the victims. As per court orders, financial aid of Rs 3 lakh is given”. Three acid attack cases were reported in the city this year, he added.
On child marriage cases, he said, “We will look into all the 28 child marriage from April last year. We have stopped many wedding this year and FIR had been registered in five child marriage cases. The victims were taken under the care of the Women and Child Development Department and the family members of the accused were arrested”.
“In many cases, either the victim or her friends give information to the WCD before marriage. About 13 girls contacted the department voluntarily before marriage and it helped us to prevent the marriages. The previous year, there were 38 cases reported in the city, and if you consider the numbers this year, the number has reduced due to awareness among people”, he added
Five units are working separately to prevent harassment, sexual abuse against women. “School teachers, gram panchayat PDOs, doctors, police officers are recognised as Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (CMPOs) under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. We keep direct contact with anganwadi workers at the ground level. Hence, we are enable to prevent most of the child marriages”, Nishchal added.