Save Safa from #Child Marriage and #RAPE
Would you call what you see in this picture a “marriage?” Can you for one minute try to imagine the fear that little girl must have felt at that very moment?
We can and must act fast to stop 14-year-old Safa Anjum from meeting the fate of this child bride in the photo. Below is Safa’s story:
Safa Anjum is 14 years old and lives in a small town, Uchilla near Udupi in the state of Karnataka. She is an eager student, and like all little girls believes that she must finish school and pursue her dreams.
However, her parents don’t want that. Her father Abdul Rafiq works as a lab technician in Saudi Arabia, and immigrant Indians like him can not only pay fat dowries, but they feel they have the means to dispense off their daughters fast!
So in January 2013 Safa was forcefully kept away from school and forcefully engaged to Faizan, a man much older than her, who lives in Mumbai, a city far away from where her family and friends live.
The wedding was to take place on 2nd April, 2013. But we hear that to prevent stopping of the marriage, they have brought it forward to Feb 22! So we have no time now!
Safa had repeatedly begged friends to help her in some way stop this marriage!
We are told that Childline India had moved in on the case and tried to help but they were blocked by the State government in Karnataka that ordered agencies to not act on the Child Marriage prohibition law in Safa’s case.
In an email correspondence about Safa’s case that was forwarded to us, Childline said they had interviewed Safa. Safa told them everything, that she was being forced into the marriage, and that she has asked people to help her get out. Safa also told Childline that doesn’t remember much about the engagement. It is believed that she may have been drugged and kept confined at home for a few days before the engagement. Safa has said that she would like to be removed to a home for girls where she can finish her school, and not be forced to get married so young.
Childline in Mangalore in an email update on Safa’s case (forwarded to us) said this, “Mangalore CHILDLINE completed the fact finding and established the details of the age of the child (under 15 years) and that the child is engaged to be married. They contacted the CMPO of Udipi and informed him to take action. Mangalore CHILDLINE City Director has met UDIPI Deputy Commissioner and briefed him about the child marriage case, the relevant act and urged him for action. The DWCD cell for Child Marriage at Karnataka state level in Bangalore has been informed of the case and urged for action on the above immediately. The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has been requested to influence the state cell as well as the district administration to take immediate action on the same.”
Perhaps, Safa’s father with his Saudi earnings, has influential contacts in his town because we hear there is political pressure on Childline to back out?
Because Childline also says this, “Since the victim hails from Muslim Community there is hesitation on the part of the officials concerned to take action under the Child Marriage Prohibition Act. Moreover, I have information that the state government has sent a circular earlier to the districts not to intervene…”
It is important, and there be media focus on this case, for there are thousands of girls like Safa who are victims of callous parents and a corrupt political system.
It is also important that Safa be removed quickly because, even if the marriage is stopped now, the family will still try to get her married soon, if Safa is not removed from the house.
Childline wants to help, but they need public support to push for Safa’s safety.
WE REQUEST MEDIA, JOURNALISTS, NGOS, AND PEOPLE TO CONTACT CHILDLINE, AND INCREASE PRESSURE ON THE KARNATAKA GOVERNMENT TO STOP THIS MARRIAGE IMMEDIATELY.
THEY MUST ALSO MAKE SURE SAFA’S PARENTS DON’T ATTEMPT TO GET HER MARRIED AGAIN ONCE THE MEDIA PRESSURE IS OFF. THIS CASE MUST BE EVALUATED BY AN INDEPENDENT BODY AND IF THERE IS DANGER TO SAFA SHE MUST BE REMOVED TO A SAFE HOUSE TO PROTECT HER.
Here’s the contact for Childline India for more information on their investigation of this case:
CHILDLINE India Foundation
Door No.2, Second Floor
Dr. Nair Road, T.Nagar, Chennai-600017
Telefax- 044-28156098, 28158098
Phone: 044-2815 6098/ 044-28158098
EVERYONE ELSE READING THIS POST PLEASE EMAIL OR PHONE THESE TWO COMMISSIONS BELOW AND DEMAND IMMEDIATE ACTION FOR SAFA
Here’s the contact details for Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights [Do write to them and demand to know why there has been no further action after the case was registered with them]
Mrs. Nina Nayak, Chairperson
Karanatak State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights
4th Floor, Krishi Bhavan
Nrupathunga Road (Hudson Circle)
Bengaluru – 560 002
Ph: (080) 22115291
Fax: (080) 22115292
Here’s the contact details for India’s National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights [PLEASE WRITE TO THEM AND DEMAND IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION AND PROTECTION FOR SAFA]
Prof. Shanta Sinha
Chairperson, The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights