Child Marriage in Assam: One Zakir Hussain Laskar arrested for marrying 12-year-old girl

Child Marriage in Assam: One Zakir Hussain Laskar arrested for marrying 12-year-old girl


Hailakandi police in Assam arrested a man on 27 July in a child marriage case which resulted in the liberation of a 15-year-old girl and an infant who is reported to be their son. The accused is identified as Zakir Hussain Laskar.

A squad of police personnel executed an operation and captured the 21-year-old man at his home in Vichingcha hamlet after acting on intelligence reports. Police said they arrested Zakir Hussain Laskar based on a complaint from the family member of the minor girl who accused him of torture.

After investigating the matter, it was found that Laskar had married the girl when she was just 12 years old, and then impregnated her. They now have a 16-month-old girl, the police said.

Police said that they have registered a suo moto case under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) act against Zakir, along with relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. Police teams are also interrogating members of both families. Moreover, the police are also looking for the cleric who conducted the marriage.

“He was arrested from his house and we rescued the girl and the child. They have been sent to a shelter home while the members of both families are being interrogated. We are also trying to find the Kazi who was involved in the marriage,” a police officer said.

The arrest comes amid the ongoing crackdown on child marriages launched by the Assam government, which has resulted in over 3000 arrests, and has reduced the number of new child marriages significantly.

Assam government’s crackdown on child marriages

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma reaffirmed his government’s commitment to eradicate child marriage by 2026, which has been a troubling issue in the state. “Our government has taken a series of measures to end the menace. By 2026, child marriage must be ended in Assam. Our government will take strong action to end child marriage,” the chief minister reiterated during a session at the state assembly earlier this year.

He proclaimed, “We will launch an operation against the menace in the state and arrest people every 2-3 months. We will open a helpline number. We have so far charge sheeted 900 cases. We have acted as per law.”

On January 23 of this year, the cabinet passed legislation to outlaw child marriages in the state. The chief minister announced that his administration would launch a statewide drive against child marriage under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

He asserted, “Marrying a minor girl is not only against the law, but it also breaches the fundamental rights of a girl child and is quite dangerous to her health.” A crackdown against child marriage was implemented in early February, and by the end of the second week, 3,015 people had been arrested.

The chief minister had declared, “More than one lakh underage girls were married off and many of them became child mothers in the recent years including a girl who was just nine years old when she delivered a baby. Action will also be taken against the parents as well as priests or Qazis who performed these illegal marriages.”

The state government also set aside a budget of Rs 200 crore to handle the sensitive issue and enabled the appointment of a special attorney for each case involving child marriage with the goal of prosecuting the criminals.


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