Child marriages continue in Kodakarai

KODAKARAI (KRISHNAGIRI): Awareness programmes and action against the perpetrators have not been able to put an end to child marriage in Kodakarai, a village situated on a hill in Denkanikottai taluk.

“Girl students are prevented from going to school on attaining puberty and marriage is conducted. This is our tradition,” says Rudrappa, village elder.

“We couldn’t give education to girls due to various factors. Girl students can study up to Std. V in Panchayat Union primary school in Kodakarai. To continue their study, they have to walk 9 km to catch a bus to either Denkanikottai or Pettamukilalam,” he says.

Due to lack of proper road, there is no transport facility to the village. “We have urged the government to upgrade the present school to at least middle school so that the girl students can study up to Std VIII,” he says.

Recently, three child marriages were stopped by Collector V.K. Shanmugam. However, his efforts proved futile as the villagers solemnized the weddings at a later date secretly.

As per a recent survey, there are 372 children in the age group of six to 14 in the village. Of this, 285 were admitted in the school. After some time, 24 children dropped out.

To encourage parents send children to school, two residential schools were started under the Sarva Siksha Abiyan in the village. Of this, one functioning in the Irular Colony has 50 students. Nirmala, a Plus Two student from the Irular community, is in charge of the school.

The other school run by Siddaraman is facing problems.

It is alleged that the funds for the school have not been allotted for the past three months.

Records reveal that one child out of three families of Backward Class communities is studying in the schools whereas among Irulars, it is two children from two families. It shows that awareness about education is better among the Irulars than BC communities in the village.

R. Arivanantham From THE HINDU

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