Child marriage high in rural Bihar, Jharkhand: Report

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 21, 2013 17:00 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) The marriages of 69.6 percent of girls in Bihar and 58.1 percent in neighbouring Jharkhand since 2011 took place before they attained the age of 18, a survey by a NGO said Monday.

Releasing the survey, NGO Breakthrough, along with other stakeholders working in this field, launched a campaign: "Nation against early marriage" in the national capital, Bihar and Jharkhand to inform, influence and initiate change.

"We want this campaign to take up this issue of child marriage with men - fathers and to-be husbands, parents, the community at large and youth leaders so that they can successfully challenge this practice of early marriage and work towards ending it," said the NGO's vice president Sonali Khan.

The baseline surveys carried out in Bihar and Jharkhand have shown that increase in education levels have also not resulted in measurable decrease in the incidence of early marriage.

The survey also shows that 95 percent of the respondents are aware of the negative consequences of early marriage but still the practice has been rampant.

"The important aspect now is to see how can a media campaign change the attitude, spark actions to reduce early marriage, as television has emerged as the most common media with nearly 58 percent of households having access to televison," said N.Raghunathan, director, Catalyst Group, which is also associated with the event.

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