A study done by Terre des Hommes Netherlands for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) found that the ancient custom of child marriage, unanimously condemned as primitive and discriminatory, has dramatically revived in the southern districts of Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Alappuzha, India.
Figures from the 2011 census showed that there was an increase in the number of child marriages in the state compared to the Census data of 2001. As per Census data 2011, there were 23,183 (23.3 percent) married girls below the age of 15 years in the State which was much more in comparison to the Census Data of 2001 that showed 15.6 percent.
This comes as a shock as the state of Kerala has always been on the top of the development graph in the country. It is a state that has not allowed its tiny geographical size and relatively lesser population to prevent it from development. It continues to stand highest in the Human
Development Index and has the highest literacy rate in the country (94%), the highest life expectancy (77 years), and the highest sex ratio, 1,084 women per 1,000 men.
In response to this growing phenomenon, the government has reacted to the rampant incidences of child marriages across the State. The Social Justice Department has set a target for itself: to eradicate the regressive social custom of child marriages in the state in two years, by the end of 2019.
Read the full study here.