Police are hunting a man in connection with arranging child marriage – after his suspected links with the wedding of 35-year-old man to a six-year-old.
Marriage broker Jamuni Bai, 51, is known for arranging marriages with child brides for a fee of around £350, say police in Rajasthan, India.
And now images have surfaced showing theshocking marriage of a 35-year-old man to a six-year-old girl at which he’s thought to have been one of five witnesses.
Inspector and Station House officer of Gangrar, Gyanendra Singh, said: ‘We learnt about the incident when the pictures of the wedding started circulating on social networking apps.
“We managed to get hold of the pictures and we sent a team to investigate the matter. We found Ratan Lal had married a minor to follow age-old customs.
“But for us it is a clear case of child marriage and we arrested Ratan Lal Jat under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006.
“But Jamuni Bai is at large and we’ve launched an operation to find all witnesses involved in the illegal child marriage.”
It’s thought the wedding took place on June 23 in a secret village temple ceremony.
Groom Ratan Lal Jat is an elected member of the village council of Gangrar, and one of the witnesses he had as a guest was said to be marriage broker Bai.
Lal Jat was already in a relationship with a married woman, so the wedding is to fulfill Nata Pratha, an ancient local custom which dictates that a man can have a live-in relationship with a married woman as long as he pays money to her so he can move in with her.
The practice is allowed only if both the man and the woman are already married to other people.
As Lal Jat was a bachelor he married the girl in this secret wedding in order to comply with customs.
Although the girl’s family were reportedly paid an undisclosed fee, the little girl is permitted to live with her family.
Lal Jat, who has been aged in his mid-40s byKiran, has been arrested under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, but they’re still hunting Bai.