Isha (name changed) told TOI that she always wanted to study but as soon
as she turned 15, her parents decided to marry her off. In December,
they told her that they had fixed a match for her and she must get ready
The Class IX student protested, pleaded and
confronted them but her parents refused to understand why she wanted to
“finish school and go to college”. In fact, they grew alarmed by her
resistance and stopped her from stepping out of the house. They even
barred her from going to the school in Tangra.
The marriage was
fixed for March 7. The groom was a youth from Sodepur, a small-time
businessman. As the day grew closer, Isha got panicky. Luckily for her,
some friends supported her after she confided in them.
On Thursday night, a little after 8, she persuaded a friend to call Childline. Volunteers immediately sought the help of Pragati Maidan police station and a combined team of police and NGO activists landed up at her house around 11pm.
“I had been trying to reason with my parents that I wanted to study and
that I am too young to get married. But they couldn’t understand. And
they kept insisting I would not get a better match than this one. I was
at a loss as how to deal with the situation because no one was trying to
understand the trauma I was going through,” recounted the girl.
“Also, I knew nothing about the man ‘arranged’ for me,” she said. “All
that I wanted was to escape the marriage so that I could continue with
Help came just hours before she was to be decked up as a bride. Her parents were served a warning.
“We were not aware that we cannot marry off our daughter before she
turns 18. We arranged the marriage thinking of her future and because
the groom is a good lad,” said the father, who was summoned to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) office on Friday.
relived and happy that the marriage did not take place. But I am worried
for my parents. I do not want them go through any kind of trouble. I
hope they are not jailed. The marriage did not take place so they have
not committed any crime. I want them to be let off,” said the girl.