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Assam's 2023 Highlights: Crackdown on child marriage, proposed law to end polygamy and record-breaking achievements

Assam's 2023 Highlights: Crackdown on child marriage, proposed law to end polygamy and record-breaking achievements

Assam, in 2023, enforced a crackdown on child marriages and proposed a law to abolish polygamy, reflecting its commitment to rights and justice. The state also celebrated record-breaking achievements.

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Assam's 2023 Highlights: Crackdown on child marriage, proposed law to end polygamy and record-breaking achievements
Assam's 2023 Highlights: Crackdown on child marriage, proposed law to end polygamy and record-breaking achievements

In the year 2023, Assam witnessed significant developments under the leadership of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, making headlines with a robust crackdown on child marriage, a proposed law to end polygamy, and various socio-economic initiatives.

In a two-phase operation conducted in February and October, the Assam government took decisive steps against child marriage, resulting in nearly 5,500 arrests, predominantly in minority-dominated districts. Chief Minister Sarma, the driving force behind these initiatives, declared his commitment to eliminating this social menace by 2026. Furthermore, all gram panchayat secretaries were designated as child marriage prevention officers to ensure comprehensive enforcement.

Opposition parties argued for a sustained campaign involving all stakeholders rather than relying solely on police intervention. Nevertheless, Chief Minister Sarma pointed to significant reductions in maternal mortalities (33%) and child deaths (15%) since the crackdown's inception.

The state government also set its sights on ending the practice of polygamy among Muslims, unveiling plans for a comprehensive law. A four-member expert committee, consisting of legal luminaries, unanimously agreed that the state could enact its laws to end polygamy. However, the opposition criticized the move as a diversionary and communal tactic, escalating tensions in the political landscape.

Amidst these legislative initiatives, the government initiated a socio-economic survey of five indigenous Muslim communities – Goria, Moria, Deshi, Syed, and Jolha. The findings are expected to guide measures for the comprehensive socio-political and educational upliftment of these minority communities.

The year 2023 also marked a significant delimitation exercise by the Election Commission of India, preserving the number of assembly constituencies at 126 and Lok Sabha seats at 14. Chief Minister Sarma declared the insurgency problem "almost finished" with peace accords signed with various militant outfits, signaling a new era of stability in the state.

However, security concerns persisted as Rohingya refugees reportedly used Assam as a corridor, prompting arrests by the Assam Police. In a positive light, Chief Minister Sarma noted a considerable decrease in the crime rate, attributing it to stringent policing, development activities, and job creation for the youth.

Assam also made headlines globally, creating two Guinness World Records. Over 11,304 participants set a record for the largest recital of Bihu dance, and another record was achieved for the largest ensemble playing 'Bihu dhol' at a single venue, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance. The state received nine Guinness World Records certificates for a mega plantation drive under the 'Amrit Brikshya Andolan' campaign, showcasing its commitment to environmental conservation.

Edited By: Bikash Chetry
Published On: Dec 23, 2023