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WhatsApp helps Prevent Marriage of a Minor Girl in Maharashtra

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Mumbai, May 07, 2017: A WhatsApp message sent by an alert neighbour to a Mumbai journalist, who in turn alerted the authorities, helped prevent a minor girl’s marriage in this tourist city, officials said on Saturday.

Prompt police action foiled the marriage of the girl – aged 17 years and 8 months – in Harsul area of the city on Friday afternoon.

The Mumbai journalist forwarded the WhatsApp message to the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission Chairperson Vijaya Rahate.

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“As it sounded serious, I contacted the Aurangabad Deputy Commissioner of Police-Zone II Rahul Shrirame around 9 a.m., requesting him to look into the matter urgently,” Rahate said.

“I immediately despatched a two-member police team from the local Harsul police station to go and fully enquire into the matter and inform me of the factual position,” Shrirame told IANS.

The police team led by Inspector Dnyanesh Sable reached the marriage venue where full merry-making was underway with dancing, music and the marriage feast being readied nearby.

“We went and met the families of the bride and the groom who were making last-minute preparations for the ‘mangal mahurat’ scheduled at 11 a.m. in an adjacent temple,” Sable told IANS.

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As the guests continued their revelry, Sable and his men made discreet investigations with the two families and learnt that the girl was indeed a minor and could not be married for at least another four months as per Indian law. The legal age to marry for women in India is 18.

The police learnt that the teen came from a very poor family, her mother had deserted her father who is paralysed since years and unable to support the family, and dependent on relatives for sheer survival.

A marriage proposal was received for the girl at a recent family wedding, which her uncle and others pursued and the wedding was finalised for May 5.

Sable informed DCP Shrirame and the police counselled the two families, making it absolutely clear that if they went ahead with the wedding they could face stringent police action.

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“Fortunately, the boy’s side also understood the gravity of the situation. They have decided to perform the marriage after some more months elapses and the girl is legally eligible to marry,” DCP Shrirame said.

In a bid to assuage the feelings of a large number of wedding guests, the police team requested them to partake of the marriage feast, but minus the wedding, of course.

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The police also requested the guests to ensure they returned to bless the couple at their ‘legal marriage’ after four months and received a huge round of applause in the marquee for their prudent handling of the delicate situation.

Shrirame and Rahate said that though social networking sites have a lot of irrelevant stuff circulating if used properly it can act as a major catalyst in preventing such potentially serious incidents. IANS

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Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded "the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country"

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Following this, a National Security Committee was also held to discuss Sharif's
Pakistan Flag, wikimedia commons

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.

The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.

“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”

Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.

Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.

Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.

Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.

Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.

A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.

Also Read- Originality is a Dichotomous Terminology, Says Megastar Amitabh Bachchan

In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)