The day is considered highly auspicious for marriages. It falls on the third day after "amavasi" (new moon) in the Hindu month of Vaishakha. In a written direction to the district collectors and superintendents of police in each district, the state home department has asked them to keep strict vigil on child marriages on Akha Teej, which is a rampant practice in the rural areas of Rajasthan, a senior officer told IANS Tuesday.
"The officials have been asked to be prepared and keep watch if preparations of child marriages are going on at any place in their respective jurisdictional area," the officer added. The letters have been sent to this effect by department's principal secretary P.K. Deb.
The directive from principal secretary Deb has asked the officials to set up control rooms in each district where people can file complaints if they come to know about child marriages in their area.
"The directions also recommend disciplinary action against sub-divisional officers if a child marriage takes place in their jurisdiction," the officer said. The villagers usually keep the preparations for these illegal marriages a secret. The directive aims to alert the officials to check any such preparations, he added.