GUWAHATI, Feb 5 (PTI): The Assam Police continued with its crackdown on child marriage in the state for the third day in a row, with the number of arrests touching 2,278 on Sunday.
A police statement said the arrests were made based on 4,074 FIRs across the state.
At least 139 people have been apprehended in Biswanath, followed by 130 in Barpeta and 126 in Dhubri, the statement said.
Other districts where over 100 arrests have been made are Baksa (123) and Bongaigaon and Hojai (117 each), it maintained.
Dhubri registered the highest number of FIRs against child marriages at 374 cases, followed by Hojai at 255 and Morigaon at 224.
Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on Saturday asserted that the drive against child marriage will continue till the next assembly elections in 2026.
He had said parents involved in underage marriages are currently being let off with a notice.
The CM added that men marrying girls below 14 years of age will be facing non-bailable charges, while those marrying girls between 14 to 16 years of age will be charged under bailable sections.
The state cabinet had recently approved a proposal to book men who have married girls below 14 years of age under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Cases under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 will be registered against those who have married girls in the 14-18 years’ age group, the cabinet decided.
The offenders will be arrested and the marriages declared illegal.
If the groom is below 14 years of age, he will be sent to a reform house.
Assam has a high rate of maternal and infant mortality, with child marriage being the primary cause, according to reports by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
An average of 31 percent of marriages registered in the state are in the prohibited age group, the NFHS had noted.