“A Knock On Door At 2 AM”: Assam Child Bride Recounts Night Of Crackdown

Nimee’s eyes do not sparkle with the joy of new motherhood, instead, they reflect the fear, insecurity and sense of foreboding that stalks her village in Assam’s Morigaon district.

Rezina Khatun stares vacuously into the distance — trying to make sense of the sudden apocalypse, which has struck her till-now happy world.

While Nimee is among the thousands of child brides whose husbands were arrested in a statewide crackdown against child marriage by the Assam Police over the last two days, Rezina is a mother whose son’s romantic escapade, which had ended with marriage, has landed him in jail now.

In the drive against child marriage, police had till Saturday arrested 2,258 people, including Hindu and Muslim priests who conducted such weddings. Police said there is a list of a total 8,000 accused.

The police had registered 4,074 cases of child marriage in less than a fortnight after the state Cabinet decided on January 23 to arrest offenders, besides launching an extensive awareness campaign against the menace.

“There was a knock on the door around 2 am on Thursday. We opened the door and found policemen outside. They took away my husband,” Nimee told PTI in a feeble voice, as her one-and-half-month-old son cried in her arms just as he was when his father was being arrested.

The 17-year-old had eloped and tied the knot with Gopal Biswas, who is in his twenties, more than a year back, and were starting off their family with the husband providing for them by selling pakoras