First wife dead, teenager was about to be married again

April 26th, 2011 - 2:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, April 26 (IANS) While preventing a teenaged boy from marrying a minor girl, the Rajasthan authorities stumbled upon the fact that he had already been married once earlier and his first wife had died last year.

The incident in Baran district comes at a time when the state is already on alert for child marriages ahead of Akha Teej next month.

Family members were planning to get the 18-year-old boy married to a girl, also a minor, an official said Tuesday. According to officials, the marriage was to take place in Kishanganj area’s Balapura village, about 290 km from state capital Jaipur.

“On a tip off from villagers, we conducted an inspection at the house of one Ghasilal Saharia. We came to know that his son Dharmendra Saharia was marrying a minor girl belonging to Guna district of Madhya Pradesh,” a senior official told IANS.

He said Dharmendra was found to be about 18 years old and not eligible for marriage as the minimum age for a boy to wed is 21 years.

“We immediately issued a restraining order and warned the family members against the marriage. They were apprised of the law,” said the officer.

The inspection team was surprised when they came to know while recording the family members’ statement that the boy was getting married for the second time.

“Dharmendra had married a girl from a nearby village in 2008. But she died of some illness,” said the officer.

The festival of Akshaya Tritiya will fall May 6 this year.

The Rajasthan government has already warned of strict action against district administrations and police officials if they fail to check the practice of child marriages on Akshaya Tritiya or Akha Teej. The day is considered highly auspicious for marriages.

In a written direction to the district collectors and superintendents of police in each district, the state home department has asked them to keep strict vigil on child marriages on Akha Teej, which is a rampant practice in the rural areas of Rajasthan.

The government has also ordered punishment to anybody involved in organising child marriages, including priests, catering firms and photographers.

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