Hyderabad: Twelve hours before a schoolgirl in Telangana was to be married off to a 40-year-old man, the police and child protection officials were alerted. The illegal wedding still took place without any hitch.
- A 40-year-old man married a Telangana schoolgirl
- The girl alerted an activist 12 hours before the wedding
- A recording suggests police took a bribe from the groom
The reason has emerged in an audio clip that is now being investigated by top police officers. It is the recording of a phone conversation that suggests a woman police officer did visit the girl's house in Jangaon district to investigate, along with a local cop. But far from saving the girl, they asked for bribe from the groom and left after pocketing it.
In the audio clip, a woman, said to be the police officer, is heard saying: 'Mariyada cheyyan di (what did the police ask for? What did he ask you to give? Do it quickly. Then you can go ahead and finish the ceremony before there is trouble."
The woman appears to be talking to the groom, who had apparently been briefed in advance by her junior that he should "take care of the visiting police officer" and if he did, he could go ahead with his wedding without any trouble.
The police officer also had advice for the groom, that the wedding should be completed quickly and everyone should disperse before anyone comes.
The district police chief has ordered a probe. A case have been registered against the police officer under the Prevention of Child Marriage Act. Police said action will be taken against all those who supported the marriage.
The girl, who has just passed Class 10, had told a child rights activist in Hyderabad that she was being forced to become the second wife of a much older man, a liquor dealer, because he wanted children.
The activist, Achyutha Rao, had passed on the information to NDTV and to the police, with the girl's address. Yet, no steps were taken.
What is worse is that after the wedding, the groom was also allowed to spend the night with the teen, which amounts to rape.
Local police officials, accused of deliberately looking the other way, claimed they had visited the girl's home and were shown her Aadhaar card as proof that she is not underage.
The girl, however, shared her school certificate that makes it clear she is.