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Rights activists frown at BJP MLA’s public harp favouring underage marriages; seek action

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Special Correspondent

BHOPAL: Child rights activists have taken strong exception to the public statement of BJP MLA Gopal Parmar promoting child marriages.

They have called it as ‘unwarranted, irresponsible and reeking of communalism, casteism and patriarchy’.

Also they have sought action from the political parties as well as government so that such damaging action could be prevented in future.

Meanwhile, political statements have also started flowing in with leader of opposition Ajay Singh demanding FIR against the MLA. The BJP state unit has distanced itself from the statement, calling it the MLA’s personal thoughts.

The ruling party’s Agar MLA Gopal Parmar had on Saturday held the law preventing underage marriages as responsible for ‘Love Jihad’ while speaking at a public function in his constituency.

He had also termed the law as a ‘government disease’ and called upon people to keep watch on the youth and ensure that their marriages were fixed at tender age so that they did not go astray.

Parmar justified his statements later while talking to media and gave example of ‘happy lives’ of his own three children whom he claimed he got married before legal age.

Chairperson of MP Child Rights Observatory and former chief secretary Nirmala Buch said that such statement coming from a ruling party MLA on such a critical issue was particularly damaging.

She advised that the political parties should orient its members, especially people’s representatives to talk on critical issues only after studying and understanding them.

Activist Sachin Jain said that the statement strengthened the notion of nexus between communalism, casteism and patriarchy played by politicians for their own gain.

A large part of the society, he said, was not yet equipped to inculcate the social changes if there was no law to prevent such things and understanding this undertone, politicians play on the emotions.

The fact that political parties or government did not take any action on such damaging statements, only encourage the tendency.

Upasana Behar, activist called for strict action including recall of the MLA, bar on him fighting any elections for five years as well as registering of FIR against him.

Leader of opposition Ajay Singh called for registering of FIR too and asked CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan to come clear on the issue.

Convener of BJP media relations department, Anil Soumitra however said that the MLAs statement was personal and the party did not condone it. He said that BJP as well as MP government go by the constitution and its provisions in all matters.

He also said that the government and well as party conducts campaigns to ensure underage marriages did not happen. He however ruled out any action against MLA, reiterating that his statement were made in personal capacity.