India: Villagers attack police who prevented child marriages

In the Jhalawar District of Rajasthan, 30 minors were being illegally married in a group.

At least six police and administration officials were injured when they were attacked by a group of villagers who was conducting child marriages in Rajasthan's Jhalawar district, police said in India. The villagers even attacked a police outpost later. Police arrested 15 villagers on April 21 and lodged first information reports (FIR) against 50 others.

The incident took place on the evening of April 20 in Ghatoli area of the district. “We were on high alert in the wake of Akshaya Tritiya (Akha Teej) that is to be observed April 24," a police official said.

Akshaya Tritiya or Akha Teej is considered one of the most auspicious days of the year for Hindu and Jain communities. Acting on a tip-off that about 30 minors were being illegally married in a group wedding ceremony at Prithavipura village, a team of district and police officials was rushed to the spot.

The officers asked the villagers to show the birth certificates of the grooms and brides. But when they refused, the team asked the villagers to stop the weddings.

“Enraged villagers then started pelting stones at the officers following which six of them were injured," said the official.

The state home department had asked the district administration and police to keep strict vigil on child marriages on Akha Teej, which is a rampant practice in the rural areas of Rajasthan.

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