Amid a row over the marriage age of women, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram has shared his August 2020 letter and reiterated his position on the issue. Interestingly, even as a Congress MLA from Madhya Pradesh has questioned CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan's proposal and has issued a vulgar and derogatory remark, Chidambaram's letter backs Chouhan. In his letter, Karti had written that he "wholeheartedly" supports raising of the marriageable age for women from 18 to 21 years. Karti had also appealed to all the parties to support such a proposal in his letter while explaining that such a move will ensure financial agency to women and empower them regarding decisions in the household and will protect them from sexual and domestic violence.
On January 12, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the minimum age of marriage for women should be raised from 18 years to 21 years. This came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his 74th Independence Day speech said that the Centre has constituted a committee to look into the minimum marriageable age for women. Chouhan said, "I feel that the marriage age of daughters should be increased from 18 to 21 years. I want to make this a matter of debate, and the country and the state should reflect on this."
Responding to CM Chouhan, in a controversial statement, former Madhya Pradesh minister and Congress MLA Sajjan Singh Verma on Wednesday asked why the minimum age of marriage for girls should be increased when girls 'reach reproductive age at 15 years'. Verma, a former AICC secretary, said in a press conference. He also accused the BJP government in the state of "failing to protect minor girl. Madhya Pradesh tops in the number of rapes against minors. Instead of taking strict action in such cases, the Chief Minister is playing politics full of hypocrisy."
He said, "15 saal ke baad hi bacchi prajnan yogya ho jati hai aisa doctors kahte hai' (Doctors say a girl becomes capable of reproduction after she becomes 15-years-old. Has he (CM Chouhan) become a bigger doctor? So on what basis does girls' marriage age should be increased from 18 to 21? What's the logic in this?"
#WATCH | According to doctors, a girl is ready for reproduction by the age of 15. Is the CM a doctor or a scientist? So, on what basis does girls' marriage age should be increased to 21 from 18: Congress leader Sajjan Singh Verma in Bhopal pic.twitter.com/sVF1UyeLra— ANI (@ANI) January 13, 2021
Reacting to Verma's remarks, Madhya Pradesh BJP's media panelist Neha Bagga said that the MLA has insulted daughters of India. "Did he forget that his party's president is a woman? Priyanka Gandhi is also a woman? I urge Sonia Gandhi to direct Verma to apologise in public and sack him from the party," she said. Meanwhile, taking cognisance, the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights has issued notice and asked him to provide an explanation within 2 days giving reasons and justifying his intention for making such discriminatory statements against minor girls and the law.