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Pregnant teen girls will commit suicide
President of the T&T Chapter of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Karan Nancoo says suicide may be the only option for some teenage girls if the Hindu Marriage Act is repealed.
He made the comment yesterday while delivering the opening address at a symposium titled Awareness of the Pros & Cons of Child Marriage. The event, hosted by GOPIO, was held at Extra Foods building, Eleanor Street, Chaguanas,
Nancoo said very often some teenage girls find themselves pregnant with no alternative but marriage.
He said the Hindu Marriage Act offers the young women option of marrying and raising a family. He told the gathering that many may agree to raise the age of marriage to 18.
“I have heard a number of negatives why should you force a child to marry. Today according to the Hindu Marriage Act a young lady between the age 14 and 16 can legally get married with parental consent over the age of 16 she can get married on her own. The thing is we must respect people, we must respect children, we must respect everybody’s rights. There are many people who say, why must a child get married? that is time for school. But I will ask a different question, why must a 15-year-old girl become pregnant and nobody so far has found the solution to it?”
He said under the Act a young male can only get married at the age of 18.
Nancoo said: “In an unfortunate circumstance where a girl child becomes pregnant she has the opportunity to get married if she so wishes, if the father of that child so wishes and if the parents allow it and that is a solution.”
He said: “If law is to be passed to outlaw marriages under the age of 18 when a young lady becomes pregnant at the age of 15 what will take place? And trust me you will get massive suicides. Is that what we want for our young children or do we want in common terminology to patch it up and get her married. And if it is she commits suicide, the father of that child would have also committed an offence of statutory rape, he will be going to jail.”
Nancoo said the Hindu Marriage Act does not force marriage on anyone.
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