Falakata BDO Susanto Mandal (circled) talks to the families at the wedding venue on Tuesday. Picture by Anirban Choudhury
Alipurduar, May 8: The wedding ceremony of two minors was stopped last night after the block development officer of Falakata intervened and convinced their families to defer the marriage till the children became adults.
Parents of the 13-year-old girl and the 16-year-old boy have signed a document stating that the marriage will take place only when both of them attain adulthood.
The incident came to light last night when some villagers informed BDO Susanto Mandal that two children were getting married at 8th Mile in Alipurduar subdivision. 8th Mile is 51km from here.
Around 10.30pm, Mandal reached the spot along with Farid Hossain, the inspector in charge of Falakata police station.
“Surprisingly, the families were aware of our movement. When we reached, we saw that they had started taking away the decorations and other items. I spoke to the parents of the boy and the girl and told both the families that minors couldn’t be married legally. I also told them what problems the children might face after marriage,” said Mondal.
He added that maulavis were supposed to solemnise the marriage around 11pm.
The children’s family members told the BDO and Hossain that the teenagers had gone missing on Sunday evening. They were, however, found in the house of a relative of the boy few hours later. After the incident, the local maulavis decided that the children should get married and both the families agreed to it.
Mandal spoke to both the families for more than an hour asking them to defer the rituals and allow the children to continue their studies.
While the boy is a student of Class XI, the girl studies in Class VIII.
“Finally, they agreed to marry the children off when they reach adulthood,” Mondal said.
He added that the parents of both the teenagers had submitted a written document to him stating that the marriage would not take place till the children attained adulthood.
“We had made the arrangements for the wedding according to the maulavis’ instructions. They told us that the boy and the girl should get married as they were found together in our relative’s house. We did not know about the laws. From now on we will not allow any minor to get married in the area. Earlier, nobody told us about the law or the reasons for which children should not get married. We have signed an agreement stating that the children will get married only after they both become adults,” said Jaharul Hak, the father of the boy.