New Delhi: Former Congress minister Sajjan Singh Verma on Wednesday said that “even a 15-year-old girl is capable of reproduction.”
Verma was targeting Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over his suggestion to raise the age of marriage from 18 to 21, for girls.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Thursday issued a notice to the politician over his comments, Indian Express has reported.
“Doctors say a girl becomes capable of reproduction after she attains 15 years of age. Has he (Chouhan) become a bigger doctor?” Verma, a former AICC secretary, asked addressing reporters.
A 15-year-old is a minor child.
According to doctors, a girl is ready for reproduction by the age of 15. Is #ShivrajSinghChauhan 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/VRrYMaCIps
— TOI Bhopal (@TOIBhopalNews) January 14, 2021
The former minister also accused the BJP government in the state of “failing to protect minor girls”.
“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.
Chouhan’s comments on raising the marriage age came at an event to flag off a state initiative on women’s safety.
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.”
There, he had also spoken of police tracking as a method of ensuring safety for working women who live outside their homes.
Not just Chouhan, but Modi in his Independence Day speech of 2020 had himself proposed that the age of marriage for women should be raised from 18 to 21.
Politics at play
Reacting to Verma’s remarks, Madhya Pradesh BJP’s media panelist Neha Bagga said the MLA had 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.
State Congress spokesman Bhupendra Gupta, who was present with Verma during the press conference, said the former minister was only referring to doctors in his comments.
“The BJP wanted to make an issue out of nothing. Verma has only asked if the chief minister knows about any valid research behind his demand for a debate on increasing the legal marriage age of women to 21-years,” Gupta said, adding that the CM makes such demands only to hog limelight in media.
Several experts have spoken on the errors associated with the belief that raising girls’ minimum age for marriage will elevate their condition.
(With PTI inputs)