Patna, Dec 12: A 13-year-old schoolgirl from Patna, Bihar, was recently rescued from becoming a victim of child marriage after she sent a distress message to ‘Bandhan Tod’ Application. “In the last week of November, we received an SOS from a girl in Darbhanga through our app who informed us that her parents were forcing her to get married,” a senior official of Gender Alliance told news agency PTI.

“After verifying the complaint through our civil society partners, we immediately reached out to the DGP in Patna, who then informed the local police authorities,’ the official added. Gender Alliance, which is an initiative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), launched ‘Bandhan Tod’ application to make people sensitive about issues such as dowry, child marriage, domestic violence and gender inequality.

“The moment we received the instruction from Patna police headquarters, we swung into action. We met the family members and convinced them against the idea of child marriage,” Benipur Sub-Divisional Police Officer Anjani Kumar told PTI.

“Incidentally, the boy was also a minor (15). So, had it not been for this app, perhaps the two teenagers would have become victims of child marriage, spelling doom for both of them. The app is in Hindi since we want to reach out rural areas, where the practice is more prevalent. It has an SOS button, which allows a potential victim to reach to us directly,” the official added.

The Gender Alliance had recently released an analysis of data based on 2011 census of the country. The analysis showed that the state average for predicted child marriage rate stood at 39 per cent in Bihar. The official added that the Benipur block the “corresponding figure is 38.16 per cent”.

The Gender Alliance is trying to reach out to girls and women in distress across Bihar hoping that the ‘Bandhan Tod’ application would be adopted across the state to fight social evils.