North India

Sold and married at 17, girl rescued in Rajasthan

But she soon found out that none of this was to come true. The underage girl was sold off and forcibly married to a 33-year-old man in Jaipur, who continued to sexually assault her every night for the next three days. Traumatised by her ordeal, she ran away from her house and spent a night at a park.

Jaipur: When 17-year-old Shyamli (name changed) from Cooch Behar, West Bengal, was promised by her family that she would only be engaged to someone but not married till she wished for it, the innocent minor girl believed every word that was said.

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But she soon found out that none of this was to come true. The underage girl was sold off and forcibly married to a 33-year-old man in Jaipur, who continued to sexually assault her every night for the next three days. Traumatised by her ordeal, she ran away from her house and spent a night at a park.

With nowhere to go, Shyamli approached the child helpline office the next morning where an official of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) was also present.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan was founded by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi and has been on a mission to make India child marriage free.

When the girl shared what she was going through, the BBA team sprang into action and accompanied her to the police station to lodge a complaint.

An FIR was registered under various sections of The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). The traumatised girl was also counselled by the BBA team.

The girl said that the man would physically and sexually assault her every night, while the family would force her to do daily house chores in the day.

“Meanwhile, my sister-in-law posted my videos and pictures on social media announcing the marriage. I was troubled by all these so I decided to leave the house,” the girl said in the FIR.

She mustered all the courage she could and stepped out. The girl has now been safely shifted to a childcare home.

“Our mission is to make every child free, safe and educated. Child marriage is an evil that cannot be tolerated at any cost, and we will leave no stone unturned in making this dream a reality,” said Dhananjay Tingal, Executive Director, BBA.

The case has been registered at the Jawahar Circle police station and further investigation is underway.

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