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The Story of Santadevi is quite similar to many young girls across India and the world.
Santadevi, at 11 months old, who could not yet walk, and could not yet talk, was *married* off to a 9-year-old boy in India. Santadevi says, “When I turned 16, I came to know that I had been married off as a child. But I don’t even remember that marriage, so I don’t want to honour it. I want it annulled.
Santadevi Meghwal of Rajasthan, India wants to pursue her dreams of becoming a teacher but is being restrained by a potential 16 lakh ($25,000 USD) fine if she does not fulfill the obligation of marriage forced upon her (by parental agreement) at just 11 months old. She is also being stalked by the man she was contracted to marry, before she could even walk.
Despite fines and potential attacks, Santadevi has spoken out, saying that, "The more pressure put on me, the more determined I became to break free…"
Now, we must stand up for the women standing in courage to defy patriarchal laws that consider it legitimate to force a BABY to MARRY.
Price of Silence in New York, FemPositive in Mumbai, 16 December Kranti Official and Feminism in India in Delhi are in action and launching a petition asking the world to end child marriage in India and #FreeSantadevi.
They took pictures of activists around the world holding up signs with a message of solidarity to "#FreeSantadevi". Messages have come in from Tunisia, Delhi, Mumbai, Central America, and New York City. These picture messages were delivered along with letters and articles written about this action for Santadevi to the Indian Consulate and the Central Government of India.
Now, it is your turn to join them in action for ending child marriage once and for all in India and getting justice for Santadevi by annulling her child marriage and rescinding the fine imposed forcibly on her by her Village Council.
The petitions have already been sent from Delhi on 21 May 2015 to – Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, CC to – Shri Rajnath Singh, Minister of Home Affairs – Shrimati Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development – Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Law and Justice and from New York to the Consulate General of India referring the above mentioned ministries on 27 May 2015.
Sign the Petition here: Click Here
Read more about the Campaign: Click Here
Read about the Law on Child Marriage in India: Click Here
Petition: 16 December Kranti: Click Here
Publications that covered the campaign:
Youthi Ki Awaaz: Click Here
Feminism in India: Click Here
Campus Diaries: Click Here
Brown Girl Magazine: Click Here