Govt continues efforts to stop early marriages

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DHAKA, Sept 7, 2018 (BSS) – Shamsun Nahar of Bagmara upazila in Rajshahi got GPA 5 in SSC examinations. She got GPA 5 in JSC exams too.

Nahar is the first among three sisters and two brothers. Her father, Abul Hashem, is a rickshaw puller by profession. Hashem was experiencing hardship to maintain his seven-member family. He was in tension regarding the marriage of his daughters.

At one stage, he got a proposal for the marriage of his daughter Nahar who had just passed SSC at that time.

Accepting the proposal, he married off Nahar in consideration of getting a good bridegroom. Nahar got enrolled in a college near her village. But after one year, her husband didn’t want her to continue studies.

Nahar tried to continue her education. Her husband started torturing her to stop education. At one stage, she divorced her husband.

Nahar said, “I know that it’s very much difficult for my rickshaw puller father to run the family. Yet, I want to continue my studiers and become a doctor in future. My exam results are good so far.”

The story of Amina Begum of Kurigram district is almost the same. She was married off after passing HSC examinations. She too got GPA 5 in JSC, SSC and HSC exams.

After one year of her marriage, Amina divorced her husband as he tortured her regularly.

Governance Innovation Unit (GIU) of Prime Minister Office sources said a total of 3,266 early marriages were stopped in 2013 while the number of such incidents rose to 13,335 in 2014 and 15,775 in 2015.

But, the rate of early marriage prevention reduced in 2016. A total of 6,389 early marriages were stopped that year while 5,463 early marriages in 2017.

According to a survey, conducted by Population Science Department of Dhaka University in 2016, the rate of early marriage is the highest in Rangpur division.

Kurigram district topped in Rangpur division, where the rate of early marriage is 91 percent, followed by Nilphamari where the rate is 90 percent.

GIU Director Dr Ismat Mahmuda said GIU started preventing early marriages in the country in an innovative system from 2013.

She said the GIU is working division-wise. A total of 1,180 early marriages were stopped in Rajshahi division last year while 424 in Mymensingh, 788 in Dhaka, 297 in Khulna, 954 in Rangpur, 296 in Sylhet, 297 in Barishal and 834 in Chattogram division.

In the beginning of the year, the government launched a pilot project in Kurigram which was inaugurated by State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Minister Meher Afroj Chumki.

Later, four more districts were brought under the pilot project with the help of non-government organizations (NGOs).

The registrars who make marriage registrations would have to be confirmed about the ages of the bride and bridegroom before marriage by making a phone call.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Minister Meher Afroz Chumki said the government has prepared a list of over 85,000 registrars who make registration of marriages across the country.

The registrars would be provided with necessary training on using a mobile app introduced for preventing early marriages, she said.

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