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Save Safa from #Child Marriage and #RAPE

February 13, 2013
CHILD_MARRIAGE_sandeep saxena in the hindu

Click for more on child brides in India

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

email: dial1098@childlineindia.org.in

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
Email: kscpcr@gmail.com

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

Phone: 23731583
Fax: 23731584

Email: shantha.sinha@nic.in

complaint: complaints.ncpcr@gmail.com

child marriage is the rape

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. hans frölund permalink
    February 13, 2013 10:14 pm

    No marriage for children! !!

  2. aditi permalink
    February 14, 2013 1:41 am

    I want to help. Please tell me how?

    • February 14, 2013 11:23 am

      Aditi, for people in general we are saying keep tweeting and sharing the post, so that the case does not get buried. If you tweet it, it goes directly to international organizations that are are trying to stop child marriage. In fact, the first one, Council of Elders has made it a goal to stop child marriage globally by 2030. This is their chance. This child marriage is entirely because of power of politics and wealth — and they are playing with a little girls life. WE need for international groups to also acknowledge this. And address it forcefully.

  3. Padmanabhan Jaikumar permalink
    February 14, 2013 11:12 am

    Child marriage in all forms is not less than a rape.Every child has the right to grow and decide how they would like to spend their life and with whom they would marry,In arranged marriage or otherwise the girls opinion is to be respected and honored.

  4. February 16, 2013 6:24 pm

    Safa is getting married next week. Its sad that we haven’t been able to do anything to stop her parents from playing with her life. Her parents are secretly getting her married in a mosque (Nikah) on next Thursday 21/02/2013 in Mumbai. She is to be taken to Mumbai on the 20th.

    • February 17, 2013 8:05 pm

      That’s absolutely awful Rohit! We have been trying to push various organizations that claim that they are going to end child marriage by 2030, but it all seems like propaganda. No one wants to use their power and influence to demand action from the government. Perhaps they just use their platforms to gather donations and money for a cause that they don’t act on! This is a lesson to everyone who thinks that the donations they are giving to various organizations that claim to end child marriage actually accomplishes anything when they required to act!

    • February 17, 2013 8:22 pm

      I have lost faith in the human civilization and these organizations. Not one has helped in any way. There is not a single organization that was not approached and not even a single organization came forward to help. Justice, human rights, happiness, liberty, freedom… these are all illusions. Only the rich and powerful enjoy these illusions not us common people.

  5. February 18, 2013 12:15 am

    I think there may be a typo in your information – when I tried to email Prof Sinha I got an error message. I tried changing Shantha to Shanta (the name given elsewhere in your post) and that seems to have gone through ok.

  6. February 18, 2013 12:42 am

    Couldn´t we start a petition on AVAAZ? They have over one million members, and as far as I know, they set an aim about how many signatures they may get in 24 hours, in order to box a case through a Parliament etc….

  7. February 18, 2013 2:00 am

    Girls are looked upon as a liability and are treated as useless human beings only good for reproduction of male children. The mixture of religion and tradition have rendered the lives of females in Islamic societies to a neo slavery.

  8. Antonello Vasi permalink
    February 18, 2013 2:48 pm

    Stop to all child marriage. We want only marriage for love…Tt

    • February 18, 2013 3:34 pm

      Yes, perhaps we need to talk more about human feelings like love and compassion in our personal relations instead of ‘customs’ and ‘traditions’

  9. February 18, 2013 8:40 pm

    Isn’t there any way for the people nearby to try to gain forces and stop the marriage? I don’t suggest any straight and dangerous encounters with them, but there must be put an immense pressure on the authorities and the officials. Campains, shares and e-mails are not enough to stop this since here it’s about a short time in which people should make a move and many still ignore or don’t have the chance to find out about them. If this is a real and serious fight for this cause, then people from there will need an incredible mass to join the cause and convince the Karnataka Government to make a move on Safa’s case. I read about the possible influencial contacts of her father in the town and the orders of the Government to the districts to not intervene. The situation is very hard to handle and control, since the government itself refused to take actions in Safa’s case and even put pressure on Childline to back out. The political system is corrupt and still intangible, I’m afraid this case won’t be resolved and there will be many other cases like this, if the entire system is not changed. The problem should be analyzed from its base: the education in all of its branches and the political system, from its inferior to its superior levels and this action requires a lot of Time, Resources of all kinds, Organization and the strong involvement of the Mass-media. It’s not easy, not possible for the moment and very hard to achieve in time.

    • February 22, 2013 12:30 pm

      Unfortunately not! And people who have been trying to help are not increasingly being persecuted, so we’ve also got requests from them now to just stop pushing this case or else we endangering them too. This is how it happens in India all the time!

  10. emery permalink
    February 20, 2013 6:55 am

    everyone in India is so afraid of the Muslim community for some reason. at 13% of the population what are they going to do overthrow the government? it is time for India to get out of the dark ages.

    • February 22, 2013 12:26 pm

      @emery: This is a political game used for every community. So for e.g. there are defined ‘vote banks’ — if a person is from the ‘upper caste vote bank’ or the ‘lower caste vote bank’ or the ‘Hindu vote bank’ — there are political interest groups not wanting to act because they dont’ want to lose out on ‘votes’ from that community. But yes, India has to get out of this dark age mentality!

  11. February 22, 2013 12:07 pm

    It is pain to see Safa get married when is still young. I hated that mood of family forcefully girls to get married and left school. Her future will be poor and poor for ever. Stop immediately girls to get married when having under age of 14. This is seriously case and is not in India also in Africa. Please people shout to stop this bad issues.

  12. February 22, 2013 7:14 pm

    No marriage for children.

  13. Sandeep yadav permalink
    February 27, 2013 4:58 pm

    I couldn’t believe that the evil of children marriage is alive.
    This type öf things have fallen down the heads of every Indian.
    Now i can’t say proudly that ‘i’m proud 2 b an Indian’.
    In Our constitution it has mentioned that children marraige and child labour is a very big crime.so where is our police,now where is the speech of our ministers. How much the government and also the people had been sleep.
    We have to change the state of mind öf the peöple.
    This kind of act is the shame for our country.:-(

  14. March 4, 2013 4:11 am

    What are the news about Safa’s case? Did you find out what happened until today? What is the situation?

    • March 5, 2013 3:44 pm

      The last we heard they family was getting her married secretly on Feb 22. There is no law authorizing intervention to remove a child in cases like this or even cases of violence in India. And children often do not want to testify against their own parents. Another issue was the safety of people on the ground who were trying to help Safa. In a system like this where the government and police are on the side of those violating the law, it is very difficult for well-meaning people to try to intervene without putting their own safety at risk. And we concerned for the safety of some of the people and as hard this was, we had no other option but to withdraw.

  15. Abdul Kalam permalink
    June 22, 2013 3:46 pm

    Although Islam does not lay a age mark for marriage, like every other religions, it is an indispensable condition that consent must be taken from the girl.

    “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.” …. so, this forceful marriage is not acceptable!

    I urge any interested activist to quote Verse 4:19 from Qur’an and Hadith : Sahih Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 62, Hadith 67 [http://sunnah.com/bukhari/67/72] to stop child marriage from Muslim community.

  16. August 4, 2013 11:35 pm

    The law doesn’t work in our country, or rather it works on the side of the rich and powerful.

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