STATE LEVEL FUNCTION TO FREE PUNJAB GIRLS FROM CHILD MARRIAGE

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Chandigarh (The Stellar News), Gurjit Sonu: Department of Social Security and Women and Child Development, Punjab, organized a State Level Consultative Meet on the issue of Child Marriage in collaboration with the Kailash Satyarthi Children Foundation (KSCF), New Delhi On the occasion, Reeta Rani, a child activist shared her encouraging experience of escaping child marriage with the intervention of Child Line 1098. She could prevent her marriage as a child of 16 years. However, her parents were unhappy with this and refused to support her studies. At this time many NGOs and social activists came to support her education. Currently she is pursuing Law and already spreading awareness against child marriage.

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The event was organized at Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration (MGSIPA), which was attended by District Child Protection Officers (DCPOs), Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPUs) Nodal Officer, Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs), Child Care Institutions (CCIs) Superintendents, NGOs representative, representatives of Health and Education Department and a child activist who escaped child marriage. There was active participation and experience sharing by all the stakeholders present. 

Speaking on the occasion, additional Director General of Police, Punjab Gurpreet Deo, called for constructive collation of stakeholders of Government and Non-Government Organizations. “Such platform help to deliberate on the challenges, take stoke of progress and facilitate solution dialogue”, she said. The event was inaugurated by Smt. Madhvi Kataria, IAS, Director Social Security and Women & Child Development, Punjab. She motivated all the Stake holders to realize the huge responsibilities of their shoulders and get fully equipped to tackle this social evil which not only violets human rights but also marrs the development of young children (Both boys and girls). The Director informed that the Department had successfully prevented 32 Child Marriages in Punjab during the tough time of COVID-19.

          Member Secretary-cum- District and Sessions Judge, Punjab State Legal Service Authority,   Arun Gupta discussed the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. He exhorted the stakeholders to actively  work and seek legal support from them to root out this evil. Ms. Jyoti Mathur, Executive Director, KSCF, shared her experiences in the fight against child exploitation including child marriage. She said the State Level Consultation shall motivate the stakeholders to intensify their fight against Child Marriage and collective action would make an impact in eliminating this evil practice. She gave a call for reducing the number of Girl Children from 23.3% to 10% by 2025. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ropar Ashish Bansal, chaired the penal discussion and highlighted that child marriage is a criminal offence and all should work towards eliminating the cause leading to child marriage and create a society free of child marriage.

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