“When Shobha Choudhary, 23, expressed her wish to annul her marriage, which had been solemnized in May 1998 when she was barely 9 years, the caste panchayat threatened to expel her from the village and impose a penalty as high as Rs 9 lakh ($16,830). [...]
“Shobha, a well-educated girl of Rajwa village in Keru (nearly 25 km from Jodhpur) got inspired by Laxmi Sargara, who decided to call off her marriage, fixed in childhood, on Akha Teej, a day infamous for child marriages. [...]
“When asked the reason of annulment, Shobha said ‘The marriage was not my choice. The boy can hardly write his initials whereas I am a graduate, a computer literate working in an institute and am preparing for my B.Ed and RAS examinations.’
“She spent 2-3 days at her in-laws' house after her gauna [consummation ceremony], for which she was forced but she could not stay there and returned to her parents’ place citing the boy’s uncooperative and humiliating behaviour and his illiteracy as the reason. “Now, I am an adult and can take my life’s decisions and find a suitable match for myself,” Shobha said.
“When we tried to contact Shobha's husband, he remained inaccessible. Kriti said that, we also had a joint counselling session with him, but later on he disappeared and is intractable, perhaps on account of pressure from the village panchayat.”