- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An 8-year old girl has become the youngest ever to divorce in India after she was married off four years ago.

Fatima Mangre was given away at the age of 4 by her father Anil, from the Shravasti district of Uttar Pradesh state, to a 10-year-old boy named Arjun Bakridi, but when the boy arrived last week to take away his bride, the father regretted the decision and decided to file for divorce, the Daily Mail reported.

“I finally realized that this practice of marrying off daughters so young was wrong and that she should have a childhood, and that it was my duty to provide that,” he said. “I now want to make things right. I want to give my daughter a good childhood. I will do everything to protect her.”

Government officials are investigating the divorce after the New Delhi-based National Commission for Women (NCW) sent a letter threatening action against the parents of the girl and the boy, the report said.

“This is a scandal, we need more details before taking action,” said the NCW’s Nirmala Samant. “The girl’s father must answer why he married her off at four years old and the boy’s father must answer why he agreed to such a marriage and then went to demand the girl when she is barely eight years old.”

The Shravasti district accounts for the majority underage weddings in India where the female literacy is just 19 percent, the Daily Mail reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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