Meet a child-marriage friendly UP chairman!
12:00 AM, December 29, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:33 AM, December 29, 2017

Obliged to stop it, he does the opposite

Locals allege UP chairman aids and abets child marriages by issuing fake birth certificates; he denies it

If informed about a child marriage, a union parishad chairman, like any other local government representative, becomes legally obliged to step in to stop the social evil.

But ironically, the chairman of Goalnagar union in Brahmanbaria's Nasirnagar is facilitating such marriages by issuing fake birth certificates for money, locals allege.

They submitted a written complaint against the chairman, Azharul Hoque, to the Brahmanbaria deputy commissioner in October, seeking prompt action against him.

The complaint says Azharul encouraged child marriage in the union which is a remote area with a poor literacy rate.

The UP chairman, an expelled leader of the local Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal, refuted the allegation. 

Asked, he said, "I never used any fake birth year on anyone's birth certificate. I always issued certificates on recommendations of ward members or based on children's vaccination cards."

Talking to The Daily Star recently, Abul Kashem, a guardian of a student and also a managing committee member of Goalnagar High School, alleged that the chairman issued such fake certificates for 33 students of class-VI to class-X at the institution, mentioning that the girls were 18 and above.

Akkas Mia from Dakkhindia village brought similar allegations against the local government representative.

According to Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017, whenever a local government representative is informed about child marriage verbally or through a written complaint, he or she will stop that marriage or can take necessary measures to initiate legal steps against it. 

Goalnagar High School Headmaster Md Habibur Rahman said the school authorities have been trying to resist child marriage in the area for long, but many guardians marry off their daughters with fake certificates taken from the UP chairman.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Liakat Ali said he heard about the complaint.

"We will recommend taking proper steps against the chairman if investigation finds him guilty," he said.

Deputy Commissioner Rezwanur Rahman said necessary action would be taken over the matter.

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