Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Champua, Apr 29:
In a blatant violation of law by a lawmaker himself, Odisha’s Champua Independent MLA Sanatan Mahakud allegedly married off his son Pankaj to a minor girl.
Complaints on this context have been lodged with local police and the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
The date of birth of the girl in question is stated to be June 5, 1998, as per her high school certificate. While she was married off to Pankaj at the age of 16 in 2015, she is yet to be 18 – the marriageable age for a woman in the country, said social activist Akshay Behera who filed the complaints.
The girl’s father, however, claimed that she is not a minor.
“I am her father. I know the date of birth of my child. She was born on July 31, 1997. The birth certificate has been issued accordingly. I am not sure, how the age changed in the Matric certificate,” said her father Harekrushna Palei.
While the MLA refused to react to the allegations, Kavita – whom Mahakud has been refusing to accept as daughter-in-law — today demanded action against both families involved in the marriage.
“He has done so knowingly even after being an MLA himself. He needs to be brought to book. The parents of the girl also need to be punished,” said Kavita.
“The marriage is already over. Now that there is a complaint, we will report this issue to the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO). He will decide the next course of action. I cannot comment on that,” said District Child Welfare Committee chief Dharitri Rout.
The CDPO, on the other hand, assured that an investigation would be carried out based on the complaint lodged with the police.