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Haryana: Call to raise marriage age to 21 in girls’ panchayat


CHANDIGARH:  For the first time, Lado Panchayats—an assembly of girls from villages—are being held in India in Haryana. On July 18, the first online Lado Panchayat was held, in which 90 girls from Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh participated. 

Over the last five days, seven offline sessions of the panchayat were held in various parts of Haryana, including Hisar, Jind, Gurugram and Mewat. In each of them 25 to 30 girls have participated. Demands raised so far include, raising marriage age of girls from 18 to 21 years and that a minimum educational qualification be fixed for girls before they can marry. 

On Sunday, a much larger session was held, in which 135 girls, including two from the UK, one from Canada, a doctor and a sociologist, participated.  During the session, girls demanded that laws be amended to give them freedom.

“In our village, girls are getting married at a very young age, and thus, they hardly know anything about marriage, and most of them, have not even completed their studies. If the government raises the marraige age to 21 years for girls, there should also be a minimum qualification to be attained before girls can marry,” said Anjali from Bihar. 

“We are not able to complete our studies as our families get our marriages fixed,” said Priyanka from Bhiwani in Haryana said. The Lado Panchayats are being organised by Selfie with Daughter Foundation.

Report to be submitted to PM 
Fifteen Lado panchayats will be held. Then, a detailed and comprehensive report with video recordings will be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare highlighting the demands raised