“We first got to know about the matter on September 5, when the girl told her class teacher that she was getting married,” Renuka (who only goes by her first name), the chief executive officer of Pardada-Pardadi Educational Society (PPES), which runs the school where the girl studies, said, “It was really brave of her to tell us about it. We called her mother over, but she failed to understand the gravity of the problem. The family seems to have got a fake Aadhaar card made for the girl, showing her age as 17 years and nine months. She is actually likely to be around 11.”
PPES management then got in touch with Child Line. Local social activists said they received death threats for trying to stop the wedding. However, on Friday morning, just before the wedding at Anupshahr, police and Child Line officials reached the girl’s house and took her into protective custody . “The family was marrying off the girl and her sister, who is in her early twenties, at the same time to save on expenses.They are a poor family ,” said S P Patel, the local station house officer. Bhupendra Singh, judicial magistrate, child welfare committee (CWC), said, “The girl doesn’t look 18 years old, as the Aadhaar card claims. We have sent her for age verification by a panel of doctors under the chief medical officer (CMO) of Bulandshahr district.”
Bulandshahr CMO K N Tiwari said the age verification report would arrive on Saturday. Meanwhile, the girl has been handed over to the school authorities, who will keep her under a teacher’s care until her family promises to not get her married.
“The family is being counselled… If the age verification report proves she is 11, we will begin investigations into the fake Aadhaar card,” said SHO Patel.