13-year-old girl rescued from child marriage in J-K's Udhampur, parents among 6 held

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The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday rescued a 13-year-old girl in Udhampur district who was allegedly forced to marry a man almost three times her age and arrested six people, including her parents, officials said.

The girl was rescued after the sarpanch of Katwalt village (Ramnagar) informed police that the minor was being forcibly married to a 35-year-old man in Gaghote, they said.

The police team sought proof of the girl’s date of birth. It was found that she is only 13 years old, they said.

Six people — the girl’s parents, husband, parents-in-law, and the priest conducting the wedding — were arrested, the police said.

They have been identified as Raj Kumar (father), Sushma (mother), Daya Ram (husband), Santhoku (father-in-law), Shanu (mother-in-law), and Rattan (priest), they said.

A case under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act has been registered at the Ramnagar police station, they added.

On the girl’s request, she was handed over to her maternal aunt Shano Devi through the Child Welfare Committee, Udhampur, the police said.

The district police lauded the sarpanch for being a responsible citizen and public representative and thanked him for his support.