Child Bride Married at 11 Months is Finally Divorced and Free

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Child Bride Married at 11 Months is Finally Divorced and Free
Tue 27-10-2015

Santadevi Meghwal was only 11 months when she got married.

Santadevi Meghwal, 19, from Jodhpur, in the western state of Rajasthan, in India - infamous for child marriages - was awarded the annulment by the Family Court, in Jodhpur, at 3pm on Tuesday.

Santadevi only found out two years ago that she was married to Saanval Ram, 28, who was nine-years-old at the time. But as soon as she tried to annul her marriage she was slapped with a huge fine and banished from her community by the local Kangaroo Court.

The marriage was kept from her - and she only found out when her father was told by village elders that she should be sent to live with her in-laws.

Her parents told Santadevi to accept it as her fate, but she couldn't. 

With the help of a local charity and child marriage activist she went against her community and has finally won her life back.

Santadevi said: ‘I did not believe in this marriage and I was determined to fight for my freedom and break free. I was not going to give up. This is a wonderful day for me.’

Santadevi, who now dreams of becoming a teacher, approached a family court on May 13th this year to request the annulment. But as soon as her ‘husband' and his family heard about it they reported her to the local Kangaroo Court or Panchyat, a local self-government organisation.

‘It’s appalling that my marriage was hidden from me all these years. I only came to know when my village elders told my father to send me to my in-laws,’ she said. ‘At first I couldn’t digest the fact but it was the truth and my parents told me to accept it as my fate.

 ‘I was not going to sit back and have my life taken away from me. I refused, and kept on giving excuses and refused to go to my in-laws house but the pressure built, I was threatened and told I’d be forcibly taken

'I refused, and kept on giving excuses and refused to go to my in-laws house but the pressure built, I was threatened and told I’d be forcibly taken. That’s when I approached Saarthi Trust.’

Source: Daily Mail