It is the second such crackdown by the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government this year. The first drive, in February, netted over 3,000 people. Around 8,000 people were named in 4,000 FIRs.
According to Assam Police chief PRO Pranabjyoti Goswami, 551 of the 916 arrested on Tuesday were men who married underage girls, 351 family members and 14 marriage solemnisers.
Dhubri and Barpeta districts recorded the highest number of arrests at 192 and 142, respectively. Except Hailakandi (59) and Kamrup (50), the remaining districts saw below-50 arrests. While only one person was arrested in the hill district of Dima Hasao, four were arrested in Kamrup (Metro) district.
On September 11, CM Sarma had told the Assam Assembly that 3,907 people had been arrested in such cases in the last five years. The latest arrests would take that number to 4,823. Of the 3,907 held earlier, 3,319 were facing charges under the Pocso, and 62 were convicted by courts under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, Sarma had said.
The Assam government launched a crackdown against child marriage from February this year, with over 3,500 people arrested against over 4,000 FIRs, after the CM had announced a zero-tolerance policy against the social evil. After the first crackdown, Sarma vowed to free Assam of child marriages by 2026.
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