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Will not let child marriages happen, says Assam CM

He was speaking in the Assam Assembly on the issue of scrapping the much-old Assam Muslim Marriage Act

Will not let child marriages happen, says Assam CM

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma 

GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said the menace of child marriage will be eradicated from the state in the next two years, and he will not let such marriages happen.

“I will not let child marriages happen in the state. Till Himanta Biswa Sarma is alive here, child marriages can not happen in Assam,” he said.

The Chief Minister also said that the state government has prepared an action plan to eliminate child marriage by 2026.

He was speaking in the Assam Assembly on the issue of scrapping the much-old Assam Muslim Marriage Act.

During the discussion, CM Sarma launched a scathing attack on the opposition AIUDF MLAs.

He warned, “I am challenging you (AIUDF MLA) that I will shut your shop. The Assam Muslim Marriage Act had provisions for the marriage of children aged five years. That is why we scrapped the Act. I will not let anybody run a business involving Muslim children.”

Earlier on Friday, the long-standing Assam Muslim Marriage & Divorce Registration Act of 1935 was repealed by the state government. The decision was taken during a state cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister.

Assam cabinet Minister Jayanta Mallabaruah later said it was a major step toward the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). He emphasized that going forward, all matters pertaining to Muslim marriages and divorces would be governed by the Special Marriages Act.

He told reporters here, “The District Commissioner and the District Registrar will now be in charge of registering Muslim marriages and divorces under the new structure. The 94 Muslim registrars who were employed under the revoked Act will also be released from their positions and given a lump sum payment of Rs 2 lakh.”

Minister Mallabarua also emphasized the decision’s wider ramifications, especially in light of the state’s efforts to prohibit child marriage.

He pointed out that juvenile marriages had been made easier by the antiquated 1935 Act, which was a holdover from the British Empire.

Notably, the Assam government launched a massive crackdown against child marriage in February last year. At least 3,483 people were arrested during the initial drive and 4,515 cases in all were registered.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that police would conduct operations twice in a year till 2026 when Assam would become free from the menace of child marriage.

In July last year, a police crackdown against child marriage led to the unearthing of 710 incidents of child marriage, which were registered with 1,100 accused named, out of whom 915 people have been arrested so far.

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