The Madhya Pradesh Congress leader and former PWD minister Sajjan Singh Verma sparked a row on Thursday by passing a controversial remark on a woman’s minimum age for marriage. Verma questioned, when girls can reproduce at 15 years, why raise their marriageable age from 18 to 21 years.
The comment did not go down well with the BJP who immediately demanded an apology from the Congress leader. But Congress tried to let the matter go with state Congress spokesman Bhupendra Gupta claiming the BJP wanted to make an issue out of nothing.
Verma’s comment came after Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, while inaugurating Samman — a fortnight-long public awareness drive about crimes against women, called for raising the minimum age of marriage from 18 to 21. Women are currently allowed to get married at the age of 18, three years earlier than the 21-year minimum age limit for men. The Chief Minister had said that the minimum age for women should also be made 21 years.
Arguing that women are able to reproduce at the age of 15 years, Verma said this is not his finding. As per doctors’ report, girls are suitable for child bearing at 15 years of age. Owing to it only, a girl is considered mature enough for marriage at minimum 18 years of age, he added.
Referring to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Verma said is he a scientist or a great doctor that he is batting for increasing the minimum marriageable age for girls from 18 years to 21 years?. To which, BJP spokesperson Rahul Kothari said Sajjan Singh Verma has insulted all the daughters not only in Madhya Pradesh, but across the country.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued notice to Verma on the matter and asked him to provide an explanation within two days giving reasons and justifying his intention for making such discriminatory statements against minor girls and law.