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Sunday, June 11, 2023

Child marriage menace among Muslims of Malappuram, TNIE slanders Hindus

Another child marriage case has been reported from Malappuram district in Kerala, where a 25-year old Muslim ‘married’ a minor. The groom, his parents and the qazi (Muslim cleric) who facilitated the ‘marriage’ have all been booked by the police. Under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 all those who participated in the wedding, including caterers, videographers and all the guests are liable to face prosecution.

Manoj Parayatta, Karuvarakundu SHO made it clear that whoever helped conduct the wedding, will be booked. They could end up in jail for up to 5 years and pay up to Rs. 10 lakhs in fines. The police acted based on a tipoff and the girl is now staying with her family. It is not clear whether the girl’s parents were in the know.

The officer explained the difficulty in probing child marriage cases as they are conducted in secrecy without photographs and locals do not cooperate in collecting evidence.

12 girls from nearby Moothedam panchayat were rescued from child marriages by child protection officers in 2016. Karuvarakundu has a history of this evil and attempts to marry off 10 minor girls from the area in 2017 were prevented: two of those victims were just 10-years-old.

Media slant

Though The New Indian Express (TNIE) knew that all concerned are from the ‘minority’ community, they tried to change the narrative to slander Hindus instead.

A minor bindi-clad Hindu girl, all dressed up like a bride, looking sad with her hands tied with a huge garland, was used as the image for this news report by TNIE.

The report clearly says that a qasi (qazi) was arrested – which means the marriage in question was Muslim. Any Keralite with even an iota of awareness knows pretty well that Malappuram is 70% Muslim.

Initially, TNIE had used another image, it seems, which too was equally misleading. It was actually the picture from the wedding of two pet dogs carried out by their loving owners in Kerala. It showed a sari-clad Hindu mother, father, 2 young men and 2 garlanded dogs. The men are all wearing dhotis and the photo is snapped in front of a contemporary Kerala style Tharavad house. Incidentally, Muslims consider dogs ‘unclean’ and haram (prohibited)

Use of misleading photos to slander and shame Hindus is a common tactic of Hinduphobic mainstream media. Other outlets like India Today, Times of India, and even American tabloids have been caught doing the same.

Social evil in Kerala

Despite being a highly-literate state, statistics as of 2017 published by Kerala’s economics and statistics department showed that:

  • Kerala had 22,552 mothers between 15 to 19 years old. A whopping 17,082 young mothers belonged to the Muslim community, 4734 were Hindu and 792 Christian. tThis means that Muslims are 27% of the population (as per Census 2011), but contribute 76% of young mothers!
  • 137 mothers in rural areas gave birth to a second baby before the age of 19 years and eleven mothers who are below the age of 15.
  • 298 mothers in urban areas had their second baby before turning 19 and 21 mothers had their third child before reaching 19 years of age.  
  • The practise of child marriage is most prevalent in Malappuram district

It is pertinent to note that more young mothers in urban areas are birthing two or three children before turning 19, than in rural. Clearly, the theory that urbanization leads to more freedom of choice for women is not working in certain communities.

Religious indoctrination by Muslim clergy and fundamentalist organisations like PFI is the leading cause for this abhorrent practice. Appeasement and apathy by government and administration also plays a part. 

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