Fifteen-year-old Sakina Kumari is no ordinary teenager. The class 8 tribal schoolgirl from Kullukera village in Jharkhand's Simdega district decided to take control of her future yesterday when she decided she would not let her parents marry her off this month. On Wednesday, accompanied by her teacher Brahmadutta Nayak, she lodged a police complaint against her parents alleging they were forcibly trying to marry her while she wants to continue her studies.
"I am the eldest of four siblings and I want to study and get a job," Sakina said, according to a report in The Telegraph. "My parents Khuyu Nayak and Rajmuni Devi want to marry me off as they feel they don't have the money to educate me and this is the only way to get me settled, but I want to study for a better life."
Halfway through her school day in Rajikiyakrit Utkramit Madhya Vidyalaya yesterday, she confided in Nayak about her parents' plans to marry her to a Chhattisgarh boy on the last day of school, 21 April, and how they had even printed the wedding cards. Nayak took her to the office of Simdega SP Rajeev Ranjan Singh, who immediately ordered seizure of the wedding cards and a case has been lodged under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 against Sakina's father Khuyu Nayak and intended father-in-law in Chhattisgarh, Gajadhar Nayak. Sakina's mother was reportedly against the marriage as well.
“Despite hailing from a remote village where children are clandestinely married off early, Sakina showed tremendous courage of conviction," Singh told Hindustan Times. "We hail her bravado and pledge to help her in her studies till she finds a career of her own. We will be her guardians now.”
Sakina will now study in one of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya residential schools, as per the instructions of the district commissioner Vijoy Kumar Singh. The government will bear the expense, and Sakina is currently under the care of the district child welfare committee.
Earlier this year, another minor girl from Jharkhand stopped her parents from marrying her off by approaching the district legal services with the help of her teacher. Last year, another teenager got support from chief minister Raghubar Das to stop her parents from getting her married.
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