Minor says ‘No’ to marriage with 70-year-old (Lead)

September 16th, 2008 - 6:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Sep 16 (IANS) A 15-year-old girl here refused to marry a septuagenarian and ran away from the marriage ‘mandap’, police said Tuesday. Minor Kanchan Kumari was Monday night being married to 70-year-old Sunder Bhagat by her relatives. Under India’s law, the minimum age of marriage for a girl is 18 years.

Kanchan stunned her family refusing to marry retired government official Bhagat shortly before the marriage was to be solemnised in the Bihar capital.

Police sources said the girl, clad in traditional bright yellow saree, walked off maintaining that the age of the groom had been concealed from her.

“My aunt never mentioned his age. When I was brought to the mandap (marriage platform) I was shocked to see the aged groom. I ran away from there and sought help of local people,” Kanchan told IANS.

She said her aunt (father’s sister) had arranged the marriage and assured her of a happy life with a rich man. Kanchan is a resident of Jaitiya village under Gaurichak police station near Patna.

Some local residents said Bhagat had paid Rs.100,000 to Kanchan’s family but this was denied by Bhagat.

“I am living alone for years here. I was feeling very lonely and decided to marry. I wanted to be looked after well in my old age,” Bhagat, a resident of Makhdumpur, said. His wife died about two decades ago and his son and grand-children live in Ranchi, capital of neighbouring Jharkhand.

A relative, requesting anonymity, said: “Kanchan refused to marry and cried for help after she found out that the groom was an old man”.

Bhagat, Kanchan, her mother Pramila Devi and her aunt Maracho Devi were taken into custody by the police. “We will interrogate them and investigate the case,” officer in-charge of Digha police station N.K. Singh said.

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