Helpline 10921 for preventing child marriage

DHAKA, Dec 27, 2016 (BSS)- Marriage of a girl of Raiganj in Sirajganj district, who reads in class-six, has been arranged by her father. The bridal party reached the girl's residence after dusk and then started the functions and formalities relating to the marriage ceremony.

At that time, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Iqbal Akhter reached the spot of the function. Giving order to stop immediately the marriage ceremony, the UNO took into custody four persons including the bridegroom, father of the bridegroom and the marriage negotiator.

Later, a mobile court handed down one-month jail term for all of the four accused persons.

Four days later on February 12, the marriage of another girl, who studies in class nine, had been commencing at their village home at Barasur under Kashiyani upazila in Gopalganj district.

All of a sudden, UNO Md Maniruzzaman along with a squad of police reached the spot the function. The mobile court took into custody the bridegroom from the spot handing a prison-term for a fortnight.

In this way with the interference of the law enforcement agencies, child marriage has gradually been stopped now.

Those who have been found involved in arranging child marriage are getting punishment. And the Helpline 10921 has been working behind the scene regarding such incidents.

Speedy effective steps are being taken to prevent child marriage

communicating with local concerned administration by the toll-free helpline centre getting information from locals.

It has been informed at the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Women and Children Affairs Ministry held at the end of last month that a total of 219 child marriages could be stopped with the assistance of Helpline number 10921 last year.

At the meeting, threadbare discussion on the plans and progress of their implementation regarding a stop to child marriage of the ministry concerned has taken place.

It had also been informed at the meeting that the National Toll-free Helpline number-10921 and other local networks have been playing a significant role in preventing child marriage.

The Helpline 10921 has been working with the district, upazila and union-level assistance.

Publicity of the Helpline 10921 has been carrying out throughout the country with joint initiative of BRAC, Protecting Human Rights and other organisations. The meeting hoped that the helpline would play a more effecting role in preventing child marriage.

Abul Hossain, project director of the Anti-women Repression Multi-sectoral Programme, said, 'The helpline 10921 has been working with various limitations'. Services have been rendered to repressed women and children from ten desks of the centre across the country, which is meagre to the requirement. He informed that over half of the calls (50 percent) poured-in to the helpline every month are related to the child marriage issue.

The Helpline Centre was introduced at the 7th floor of the Directorate of Women Affairs at the city's Eskaton on June 19, 2012 with the view to preventing women and child repression.

It had been mentioned that some 30 persons can avail the service of the toll-free helpline 10921 at a time. Under its multi-sectoral programme to prevent child and women repression, the Women and Children Affairs Ministry initiated the five-year project.

It had also been informed at the standing committee meeting on various awareness programmes initiated by the ministry concerned to prevent child marriage. Highlighting on the programmes, it has been mentioned that training programme relating to prevention of child marriage has been continuing in 480 upazilas in 64 districts.

Meantime, a total of 22,650 persons in 302 upazilas taking 75 persons in each of the upazilas has been imparted with training relating to prevention to child marriage. Conferences on prevention to child marriage have already been held in different districts.

Besides, the meeting had also been informed that view exchange meetings, rallies, leaflet-poster distribution, video documentation, audio dramas and other programmes on the matter have been arranged in divisional, district and upazila headquarters.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)