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Won’t Allow Child Marriage Till I Am Alive: Himanta Biswa Sarma

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GUWAHATI, Feb 26: Asserting that he will not allow child marriages in the state, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday alleged that opposition Congress and AIUDF were siding with a “draconian” law which purportedly legalised underage marriage.

Members of the Congress and AIUDF, protesting against a Cabinet decision to repeal the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1935, staged walkouts later.

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The AIUDF had sought an adjournment motion to discuss the Cabinet decision, while the Congress maintained the original act could have been amended without repealing it altogether.

While Speaker Biswajit Daimary disallowed the adjournment motion, the chief minister also said that a discussion can be done when the repeal bill is listed in the proceedings.

As Sarma tried to explain why the repeal was needed, the two opposition parties created noisy scenes in the House leading a visibly agitated chief minister to assert that he will go ahead with banning child marriage.

“This old law allowed registration of marriages between children of five-six years of age. If you want to speak in favour of this draconian law, I will also say that till I am alive, I will not allow child marriage to happen in Assam,” Sarma said, pointing to the opposition benches.

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“I won’t allow you to carry out business with Muslim children,” Sarma said, specifically targeting the AIUDF.

As the opposition parties continued to create a ruckus, the chief minister switched to speaking in Hindi, saying that he was doing so that his words can reach a wider section of people.

“I want the Congress, AIUDF to know that till Himanta Biswa Sarma is alive, I will not allow child marriages to take place,” the CM said in a raised voice to assert his point.

Protesting against the Cabinet decision, the Congress walked out of the House for 10 minutes.

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AIUDF legislators initially raised slogans and stormed into the Well of the House, sitting on the floor for over five minutes. They later walked out as the Speaker continued to conduct the listed business of the House. Opposition CPI(M) legislator and the lone Independent MLA, however, remained in the House.

The Assam Cabinet on Friday had approved the decision to repeal the Act in a bid to end the social menace of child marriage in the state, Sarma had said.

The Act of 1935 contained a provision allowing marriage registration even if the bride and groom had not reached the legal ages of 18 and 21, as required by law. (PTI)

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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