Indian woman who 'married' teenage boy arrested on sexual assault charges

Mother told Mumbai police her son was ‘enticed’

Adam Forrest
Friday 30 November 2018 14:20
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Groom with underage bride in village of Malda in India, where child marriage is still widespread
Groom with underage bride in village of Malda in India, where child marriage is still widespread

A 22-year-old Mumbai woman has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy, despite claiming she and the minor were married.

The woman is currently being held at a prison in the city along with a five-month-old daughter she claims to have had from the relationship with the teenager, according to media reports in India.

She is accused of breaking laws relating to the protection of children from sexual offences and child marriage.

Under India’s Child Marriage Act, any male under the age of 21 and any female under the age of 18 is considered a minor.

A complaint against the unnamed woman was originally filed by the 17-year-old boy’s mother, who claimed her son had been “enticed,” according to The Times of India.

The boy’s mother told police the woman had come to the family home in November 2017, claiming she had recently married to her son.

The mother also alleged the woman threatened to harm herself if she was not allowed to live with them at the family home, and later threatened to kill herself if the relationship was stopped.

Her son left home to live elsewhere with the 22-year-old.

The police complaint filed by the boy’s mother reportedly states the boy’s age as 17 years and 18 months old. She claims her son had been “in contact” with the woman for two years.

In her bail plea, submitted through her lawyer, the accused woman said she and the teenager had been in a consensual sexual relationship.

She also disputes the age of the boy provided by his mother.

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The Child Marriage Act was passed in 2006, giving Indian courts the power to imprison anyone found breaking the law for up to two years.

According to UNICEF, significant progress has been made across India, where the proportion of girls getting married has nearly halved in a decade.

Earlier this year, the agency said 27 per cent of girls – nearly 1.5 million girls – get married before they turn 18 in India, a sharp decline from 47 per cent a decade ago.

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