Koraput: Child marriage is still rampant in tribal dominated Koraput district. Even if the administration is conducting awareness drive and campaign to check the evil practice, but still the practice exits in name of tradition.

Child marriage not only destroys a child’s life but also affected their future. A minor boy and a girl from different areas of Koraput district have not only understood the ill effect of this evil practice but have also revolted against it and set an example for others. They are now being treated as the anti-child marriage crusaders.

Now, their sole aim is to spread awareness drive against what they called ‘social stigma’.

The girl is identified as Raimati Saunta (17) of Gomokapadar village of Keramati panchayat under Kundura block in the district and the boy is Anand Pangi (18) of Thuria village under Pottangi block of the district.

Though their parents decided to perform their marriages when they were minors with different persons, they revolted.

Not only they denied to tie the knot but also took a vow to spread awareness about the demerits of it.

Family members of Raimati Saunta had fixed her marriage five years ago when she was just 14 years old. She at that time not only revolted against it but with the support of her elder brother and teachers convinced her parents to call of her marriage and allow her to continue her education.

Raimati, now a Plus II student, says she is quite happy with her decision as she is able to complete her school education and do her college. But is she would have married then she could not have completed her education.

She says that she was not against the marriage but against child marriage and had also asked groom family to wait, but the boy’s family married the boy somewhere else.

Raimati along with her friends has formed a child welfare committee in four villages where they regularly meet and discuss about the ill effects of child marriage and spread awareness against it.

Raimati we also educate minors to call 1098 if they come to know about child marriage without getting terrified.

Similarly, Anand’s maternal uncle had sent a marriage proposal for him when he was only 16.

However, he opposed it as he was aware about the ill effects of the child marriage and as he wanted to concentrate on his studies.

Even if his parents didn’t agree, he took the help of Adivasi Ekata Manch, working in their village and convinced his parents.

He is now pursuing his graduation and is also part of his village’s youth forum and child forum and is spreading awareness about evil practice of child marriage and importance of school education.