It all started when Social Welfare officials were tipped off on June 23 that a 15-year-old girl from Cheyyar in Tiruvannamalai was to be married to a 27-year-old youth at Chitheri village on the outskirts of Vellore. The reception was to be held on that day and the marriage the day after.
Officials landed at the reception and stopped the proceedings, and warned both families about the consequences of child marriage. They then took the girl to VGMCH for COVID test and then she was left at the government rehabilitation home at Ariyur near Vellore.
When the test returned positive, the officials at the home were asked to inform the girl and her parents. But the officials were shocked to learn that the day after she was admitted to the home, her mother took her away after stating that she had given a written assurance not to proceed with the girl’s marriage.
Officials then rushed to the boy’s house in Chitheri where they were told that the girl had gone to her native place in Cheyyar. When Vellore officials informed their Tiruvannamalai counterparts, they were told that the girl was still in Vellore. But when they went to Chitheri once again, the boy’s father said the couple had already left for Tiruvannamalai.
Having had enough of the charade, they warned all with criminal action if they continued to hide the girl. Soon, the boy who was taking his child bride on a two-wheeler was informed about the warning over mobile phone, following which he returned and admitted the girl to VGMCH on Wednesday night.
Officials are now trying to trace the 150-odd persons who attended the marriage reception to isolate and test them.