The age when children relish their childhood, go to schools, and explore new worlds, at such a tender age the girl children in Haryana are made to face the scourge of child marriage. Child marriage is a violation of fundamental human rights, yet the social menace has found space to propagate in the state because of some narrow-minded people present in the society. The screams of these child brides in the state seem to fall on deaf ears of the patriarchal society.
If we look at the statistics, a clear status of the state emerges. The total number of child marriages in haryana was 47 in 2009, while it was recorded as 195 till the mid of 2011. The increase in the number indicates that the state is heading towards atrocious ends.
Insecurity among the families and communities has led to the destruction of the lives of innocent young girls. If the opinions of the people who support this practice in Haryana are to be expressed, it includes the fear of the parents that their daughters may elope with their beloved otherwise. Also, some people hold the view that to decrease the number of rape cases in Haryana, child marriage is the apt move, while others uphold the customary practice to ensure chastity of girls.
The lone victims of this evil exercise, the child brides, who have no say in such a society, suffer dire consequences. They face domestic violence and inequality. They are forced to discontinue their schools. Their health suffers the most because of repetitive pregnancies at a tender age, when they are physically not prepared for child bearing.
The society, as a whole, needs to know the demerits of child marriage and its impact on child brides. Developing an outlook that understands the miseries of the girls will help in condemning the evil exercise. It is essential to acknowledge that every girl has her own identity, and her parents wish should not be taken as her word of acceptance on marriage.
The vital move required to uproot the practice is to expand the legal shielding net and consider child marriage a crime, and not just a social evil. There are acts like the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act (PCMA), 2006 that forbids marriage of girls below the age of 15 years; still, child marriages are so rampant. Also, it has been made mandatory that all marriages must be registered; and in case of a marriage of a minor, the court must not give it a registration as that will give it a legal validity in the society; still in states like Haryana no strict implementation is ensured. Needless to say, it is imperative to enforce laws and acts more effectively to reduce the incidences of child marriages in the state.