Authorities in India’s Assam state on Friday arrested more than 1,800 “husbands” and their relatives after launching a crackdown on child marriages in the region.
Indian law prohibits the marriage of women below 18 years of age and of men under 21, but child marriages are prevalent throughout the country.
A National Family Health Survey in 2019 found that almost one in five — 23.3 per cent — women between 20 and 24 years old were married before they turned 18. The percentage rose to 31 per cent in Assam, according to the survey.
The remote state in India’s north-east has a high maternal and infant mortality rate and child marriage is believed to be the main cause, according to the government. Like much of the country, it lacks a robust healthcare system.
State Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the crackdown was an attempt to stop child marriages in Assam.