In a bizarre incident, an elected representative from Rajasthan reportedly married a six-year-old girl, in order to move in with a married woman.
Ratan Jat, 35, the elected ward panch of Somiyana village panchayat, was reportedly in a relationship with a married woman and wanted to move in with her.
Nata Pratha, a custom prevalent in parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, allows a man to have a live-in relationship with a married woman. Under the guidelines of the custom, the man has to pay some money to the married woman so that he can move in with her. But this practice is allowed only if both the man and the woman are already married to other people.
Earlier this week, Ratan, a bachelor, reportedly married a six-year-old girl from his community, in order to be eligible for the age-old custom. For the police and district administration, it was a clear case of child marriage. The Gangrar sub-divisional officer, the designated child marriage prevention officer, was sent to the spot Friday to probe the matter.
“When the incident came to our notice, we dispatched a team headed by the sub-divisional officer. But when they reached the spot, there was no one there. And on these matters, villagers don’t speak out,” Chittorgarh Collector Ved Prakash said.
The police have registered an FIR under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, and are looking for the ward panch, along with all those who were privy to the marriage ceremony.