AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Sunday questioned the Assam government’s motive behind its crackdown on child marriages in the state and said the exercise reflects a “failure of governance” by the BJP dispensation.
“There is a malicious motive behind all the action that is being taken,” the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader told PTI in a telephonic interview, when asked about the hundreds of arrests made in the northeast state.
More than 2,250 people have been arrested in Assam till Saturday in the crackdown on child marriage, according to an official statement by the state government.
Owaisi, who was in Lucknow to attend the executive committee meeting of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), said, “As you know the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act was passed in 2006, and it is the BJP’s government which is in power in Assam for the last six years. Now, why did the government not stop all these in the last six years? This really shows the failure of their governance.” “Experts have said that if you want to stop child marriages, you have to open a lot of schools, (but) you have not done that. You have closed down the madrassas too which were imparting some form of education,” he alleged.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday asserted that the drive against child marriage launched by the state police from the previous day would continue till the next Assembly elections in 2026.
A total of 2,258 people have been arrested so far across the state based on 4,074 FIRs, the Assam government statement said.
Speaking to PTI, Owaisi asked who would now take care of the poor women who have been left in the lurch after the state government’s crackdown on child marriages.
“Now, who will look after those poor women? Forget about whether they are Muslims or not Muslims or Hindus? Who will take care of them now? What steps is the government taking to look after them? … many of them have children now,” he said.
Owaisi also informed that he recently shared a tweet about an Assamese woman who has died by suicide.
“You must remember that at 18-plus, we allow consensual sexual relationships. So, how does it make sense if at 18 she is having a consensual sexual relationship and then you are saying it is child marriage? Even in the law, this needs to be looked into,” he said.
“It is a completely biased government against Muslims, discriminatory against Muslims. For example they went on an (anti)-encroachment drive, wherein they made hundreds of Muslim families homeless in Assam. In upper Assam, they gave ‘pattas’ (land strip) to landless people, but in lower Assam, they don’t do that,” Owaisi alleged.
The Assam cabinet had recently decided that those having married girls below 14 years of age will be booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The council of ministers also took the decision that cases under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 will be registered against those who have married girls in the 14-18 years age group.