In the recent months, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has aggressively campaigned against the child marriage and dowry practice in Bihar. Earlier also an incident has been reported from Bihar where a family had returned the dowry amount after listening to the speech of Kumar. Once again a heartwarming story has come forward from Darbhanga where a 13-year-old girl Rinki was saved from the clutches of child marriage using “BandhanTod” app of a UN-backed platform.
Patna-based Gender Alliance, an initiative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has launched the Android-based app named ‘Bandhan Tod’ in September to make people aware about the issues like dowry, child marriage, domestic violence and gender inequality.
Gender Alliance is a network of 270 civil society organizations. The app has an SOS button which when activated, sends an alert to partners in every district, as well as to Gender Alliance officials in the state capital of Patna.
Since the app was launched, around 240 distress messages from across Bihar have been received and responded to reports UNFPA. “The average lead time for response to an SOS is less than five minutes,” Prashanti Tiwary, who leads Gender Alliance was quoted by UNFPA.
On 24 November, Gender Alliance received three SOS messages in quick succession, all from the girl in Darbhanga. The officials soon rushed to the girl’s house but when they failed to convince the parents they informed the cops.
According to a PTI report, a 13-year-old girl used the app to send an SOS about her marriage which was received by the officials of the Gender Alliance. On condition of anonymity, a senior Gender Alliance official informed PTI that once the SOS was received the complaint verification was done after which the Patna DGP was immediately informed.
The Gender alliance officer also informed that the boy was also a minor, hence the app saved two lives from getting ruined.The minor girl has now been felicitated by CM Nitish Kumar and also rewarded with a laptop.
The app is available in Hindi so that the rural population which is its main target base can easily use it. It also consists an SOS button which can be used for alerting the officials.Moreover, the app also contains free study materials from Bihar board curriculum.
We appreciate the initiatives being taken by the Bihar govt along with the alertness of the Gender alliance officials and hope that it will help in making the state free of evil practices like dowry system and child marriage. The amount of courage and alertness shown by the 13-year-old girl is praiseworthy and we hope for a better tomorrow for her.
(ht: Story by Kunal Dutt published in PTI)