Santadevi Meghwal Indian child bride married off at 11 months finally granted divorce

Santadevi told the court two years ago that she was married to 28-yr-old Saanval Ram who was nine-yrs-old at the time of their wedding

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19-yr-old Santadevi Meghwal from Jodhpur, in the western state of Rajasthan, in India, was finally granted the annulment by a Family Court play

19-yr-old Santadevi Meghwal from Jodhpur, in the western state of Rajasthan, in India, was finally granted the annulment by a Family Court

(Mirror UK)
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A child bride from India who was married off to her groom at 11 months old has had her marriage dissolved.

19-yr-old Santadevi Meghwal from Jodhpur, in the western state of Rajasthan, in India, was finally granted the annulment by a Family Court.

READ: This indian woman was married off at 11 months old

Jodhpur is infamous for child marriages.

Santadevi told the court two years ago that she was married to 28-yr-old Saanval Ram who was nine-yrs-old at the time of their wedding.

19-yr-old Santadevi Meghwal from Jodhpur, in the western state of Rajasthan, in India, was finally granted the annulment by a Family Court play

19-yr-old Santadevi Meghwal from Jodhpur, in the western state of Rajasthan, in India, was finally granted the annulment by a Family Court

(Mirror UK)

 

When the child bride tried to annul her marriage, she was immediately given a huge fine of £16,000 and banished from her community for defying tradition.

But Santadevi got her freedom when a charity and child marriage activist came to her aid, helping in the fight against her community, Mirror UK reports.

READ: 15-yr-old girl forced to wed 32-yr-old man in arranged marriage (PHOTOS)

"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 said.

Despite attacks from her husband and his family, the Santadevi was determined to fight back after they had reported to the Panchyat, a self-government organisation.

Santadevi Meghwal and 26-yr-old child marriage campaigner, Kriti Bharti play

Santadevi Meghwal and 26-yr-old child marriage campaigner, Kriti Bharti

(Asia Press)

 

"It’s appalling that my marriage was hidden from me all these years," she said.

"I only came to know when my village elders told my father to send me to my in-laws.

"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.

"That’s when I approached Saarthi Trust."

READ: 13-yr-old girl saved from being married off to 40-yr-old man

Saarthi Trust is a children’s rights group founded by 26-yr-old child marriage campaigner, Kriti Bharti.

Santadevi's case is the 29th child marriage annulment in India.

The charity was responsible for helping the first girl in India - Laxmi Sargara,  to annul her child marriage in 2012 and since then they have helped to annul 27 child marriages.

Bride and groom in traditional Indian wedding clothing with henna tattoos play

Bride and groom in traditional Indian wedding clothing with henna tattoos

(Getty Images)

 

"I’m over the moon Santadevi has won her freedom.

"It’s my dream to eradicate child marriage from India forever, and this is just another girl’s life I have helped to save.

READ: World's smallest bride marries love of her life [PHOTOS]

"Santadevi approached me in April and I didn’t hesitate to help her."

"I immediately started giving her parents some counselling and advice.

"Parents are generally apprehensive about going down such roads because of the humiliation and the consequences of being ostracized from the community.

"But thankfully Santadevi’s father finally supported her," Kriti said.

A census in 2011 revealed that 1.6 million children were married between 2000 and 2010 in Rajasthan.

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