Father loses 13-yr-old daughter in gambling, to marry her off to winner

A compulsive gambler in West Bengal's Malda district has fixed the marriage of his 13-year-old daughter with his neighbour — who is two times her age — after losing to him in a marathon gambling session.

The man, a resident of Krishnapur-Buritala village in Malda, was locked in a gambling bout with local youth Sukumar Mandal on December 1. Having lost all that he had, he put his girl at stake, and again lost.

Soon after, the two families started negotiations and the marriage was fixed for January 22. An engagement ceremony was held on December 9, which was attended by villagers and relatives.

The girl, a Class VIII student, stopped attending school after she got engaged.

When contacted, Habibpur Block Development Officer (BDO) Arnab Roy said he had sent a team to the village, bordering Bangladesh, Thursday to get the details.

The team was to meet Friday. The BDO said he also asked members of 'Childline', an NGO dedicated to children's welfare, to be present at the meeting.

Stating that he has informed the district social welfare officer about the incident, the BDO said all out efforts would be made to stop the marriage as child marriage, which is a punishable offence.

He said illiteracy was the reason behind the incident and efforts would be made to make both the families aware about the drawbacks of child marriage.

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