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31 May 2017

Kanyasree fighters: A girl's group with a noble mission

Ei Samay | TOI | May 30, 2017, HARIHARPUR: West Bengal is among the top four states in the country when it comes to child marriage. A nation-wide survey by the Centre has revealed that of the total marriages that take place in Bengal, 54.7 per cent are of minor girls, taking the state to the fourth place with Uttar Pradesh in the National Family Health Survey.

But now a Mamata Banerjee-led government's pilot project 'Kanyasree' is setting up benchmarks. Clad in blue salwar-kameez and white dupatta, these group of 32 girls are fighting for the right of minor girls.

They have a simple modus operandi. Whenever they come across the information that a minor girl in being forced into marriage, they stand up for the girl. In last five months 24 minor and illegal marriages were stopped by them in Hariharpara block's Murshidabad area.

"'Kanyasree fighters are our pride. They are fighting a hard battle to stop minor marriages," Block Development Officer of Hariharpara, Purnendu Sanyal said.

"In terms of girl education the block has not shown any significant improvement. That is a major reason why people are not paying any heed to government's repeated attempts to stop child marriage. After the state government started Kanyasree project, the district governance has created a new group who are known as Kanyasree Fighters," he said.

Last week, the group stopped the marriage of 17-year-old Meera Halder, a resident of Humaipur of Daulatpur Village. Her marriage was fixed with a fish seller of Anandanagar. As soon as the group came to know about the marriage, they went straight to the girl's house and after much discussion with the family stopped the marriage.

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