A 17-year-old girl was disowned by her family after she ran away from home after repeatedly refusing to marry a boy her parents had engaged to her. When a Home Guard at Kalupur railway station discovered the girl looking for a police station and realised she was a minor and alone, he immediately escorted her to the Childline Help Desk. On November 16, the adolescent girl apparently ran away from her elder brother’s house in Rajkot, took a bus, and arrived in Ahmedabad to avoid a forced child marriage.
When counsellors spoke with her parents in Mehsana and her brother in Rajkot, they discovered that she was opposed to marrying off to the boy with whom she was engaged.
She was allegedly smitten by a college student who lives next door to her in Mehsana. As a result, her parents had sent her to live with her brother in Rajkot.
Her parents and brother arrived in Ahmedabad on November 17 after learning of her discovery. Officials told that neither was the girl ready to compromise with her family, nor was the family ready to accept her choice, stating, “The boy she likes has the same caste and gotra as us and so they both cannot get married.”
The girl, who had appeared before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), chose to remain at the Odhav Children’s Home, and her family also refused to take her back home.
Because the girl is not yet of marriageable age, childline counsellors intervened. Imran Bohahriya, coordinator with the NGO, said, “We counselled the parents on the illegality of the marriage they had planned for January 2023 as she was underage. We also told them about future consequences as their daughter was herself opposed to the marriage.”