Updated: October 3, 2017 12:30:23 am
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar launched a statewide campaign against child marriage and dowry here on Monday.
About 1,500 people gathered at the newly constructed Bapu Sabhagar near Gandhi Maidan, where the CM flagged off vehicles with which social groups and artistes will spread awareness on such social practices.
The awareness campaigns will include disseminating slogans and pamphlets, staging small plays and making students and their guardians take a pledge against child marriage. The state government has also asked police to ensure strict implementation of existing laws.
“We hope a sustained awareness campaign throughout the state will help bring down the number of child marriages and those accepting dowry in a year. Development will have no meaning as long as such evils exist in society,” Nitish said. He said Bihar was ranked 26th when it came to crime against women, but second in terms of dowry cases. If dowry cases are dealt with sternly, crime against women would automatically come down, he said.
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Referring to prohibition in Bihar, he said that “drinking is not a fundamental right”. “We chose Gandhiji’s birth anniversary to a launch campaign against child marriage after having brought an amended liquor law on the same day last year. Several people used to mock us about our prohibition drive, but now there is happiness in society and domestic violence cases have come down,” Nitish said. He announced that a human chain would be formed on January 21 next year to express solidarity against child marriage and dowry. He appealed to all political parties to rise above politics and support the government’s move against social evils.
Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said: “We request the CM to bring a law, if necessary, to ensure that panchayat representatives including mukhiyas are held accountable for child marriage in their areas. We should be able to free Bihar of social blots like child marriage and dowry in two years.”
A police officer said, “Apart from parents of the bride and bridegroom, the wedding party, priests and band will also face action in case of child marriage.” The intelligence system at village levels will be boosted, he added.
After banning liquor in Bihar in April 2016, Nitish is now focusing on social evils like dowry and child marriage.
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