A 13-year-old Indian teenager who is about to get married to a much older man has wrote a letter to her school principal and teachers to save her from getting married. According to Indiatimes, the child bride, identified as Duli Hembrom, is a grade 9 student from Milan Mithi Uchha Vidyalaya (translated: Milan Mithi High School) in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand State. She has made a fervent appeal to “rescue” her from the arranged marriage her parents has set up for her, the Indiatimes report said.
According to Duli, her parents are adamant on getting her married off to a man even after she had refused to give gee consent for the wedding. The marriage is scheduled for April 22, she revealed in the letter she wrote to her school principal. She decided to contact the principal after it became evident that her parents were not going to heed her appeals to not go ahead with the marriage.
Excerpts from the letter read:
“My parents have fixed my wedding on April 22. I do not want to get married. I took an oath at the time of admission that I will not get married before I turn 18. I do not wish to get married early.”
Following reports about the letter, Duli’s parents were contacted by reporters from several newspapers to whom they justified their decision to marry their daughter off. Her father Lachhu Hembrom told the Hindustan Times that child marriages were common in their society and that it would be difficult for Duli to get a groom when she is older.
While Duli’s decision to let the world know about her predicament has earned her nationwide praise, it is still unclear if her parents would go ahead with the wedding scheduled for April 22.
While child marriages are prohibited under Indian law, several cases of such marriages are reported from the impoverished, northern region of the country. According to a United Nations report, there were 23 million child brides in India in the year 2013 alone. India has the world’s second highest number of child brides in the world, the report had said.
Duli Hembrom is a resident of Jharkhand State which is also known to be one of the poorest states in India. The legal age for marriage in India as per the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 is 18 years for girls and 21 years for men.
According to women’s right activist Aarati Benera.
“Child marriage is illegal and a social evil. It also has a negative psychological impact on a child. They are burdened with additional responsibility at a very young age.”
By 2020, analysts estimate that the number of child brides across the world would reach over 140 million.
[Image Via Al Jazeera]