Indian teenaged girl annuls her arranged marriage
Girl was 'married' to husband when she was one year old
Eighteen-year-old Laxmi Sargara, who lives in northern Rajasthan state
in India, recently received the shock of her young life. Unbeknownst to
her, she had been married to a local boy when she was only one year old -
and he was three. Taking the matter into her own hands, Sargara had her
marriage annulled, in what is thought to be the first case of its kind
Taking the matter into her own hands, Laxmi Sargara had her marriage annulled, in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in India.
"I was unhappy about the marriage. I told my parents who did not agree with me, and then I sought help," Laxmi told journalists.
She says he knew nothing of the path her life was intended to take until a few days ago when her groom's family came to take her home with them to start her new life as Rakesh's wife.
When her parents refused to help, Laxmi sought help from a local non-governmental organization, the Sarathi Trust in Jodhpur city.
"She got depressed. She did not like the boy and was not ready to go ahead with her parents' decision," Sarathi Trust worker Kriti Bharti told reporters.
Her intended husband, Rakesh only agreed to the annulment after counseling.
"It is the first example we know of a couple wed in childhood wanting the marriage to be annulled and we hope others take inspiration," Kriti Bharti added.
As child marriages are not legal under India's Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, both Laxmi and Rakesh signed an affidavit declaring the marriage null and void in the presence of a notary public in Jodhpur.
A recent survey found that 10 percent of girls in Rajasthan are married off before the age of 18.
There have been several cases of young girls refusing to get married in India but these are rare cases, correspondents say.
According to UNICEF, 40 percent of the world's child marriages take place in India. Recent efforts to stop the practice mean the number of such marriages has declined.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: India, child marriages, annullment
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