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At 8-year-old Fathima Mangre from India, becomes world’s youngest divorcee. Here’s her story.
Though child marriage is legally banned in India, yet according to UN, India has the second highest rate of child marriages in South Asia. When it comes to the child protection, India still has a long way to go. These marriages happen with the consent of the parents and due to economic backwardness, it is taken as a way of reducing the family expenses.
In another case of child marriage, Fathima Mangre, aged four, from Shravasti District of Uttar Pradesh was married to Arjun Bakridi, who was just 10-year-old.
After the marriage, Fathima stayed with her parents. When she turned 8-year-old, her in-laws came to take her. But to Fathima’s luck, her father had a change of heart. He refused to send Fathima with her in-laws and insisted that she stayed with her parents till she is 18 years old. That created a huge furor with the boy’s family. They refused to take a no, for an answer.
That is when Fathima’s father took the wisest decision and filed for a divorce. Fathima was finally granted a divorce in 2013, making her world’s youngest divorcee at the tender age of 8. But it should be mentioned that the divorce finally came through, after the intervention of National Women Commission.
Anil Mangre in an interview said, “I finally realized that this practice of marrying off daughters so young was wrong and that she should have a childhood and that it was my duty to provide that.”
But the National Commission of Women has threatened action against both set of parents.
“I have already admitted my mistake. Social pressures are high in our village. But the marriage has been annulled. I have admitted it was wrong to marry her off so early. I now want to make things right. I want to give my daughter a good childhood. I will do everything to protect her,” said Anil Mangre.
It should be noted that Uttar Pradesh from where Fathima hails, child marriages are higher than the national average and also the literacy rate of girls in Fathima’s district, Shravasti, is just 19%.
Now after Fathima’s divorce her father wants her to have an education and a life of her own, which is a ray of hope for many girls like Fathima.
Cover image via Twitter
Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.
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