Indian priests arrested for marrying off their children

Indian Hindu priests perform Arti evening prayers at Sangam during the annual 'Magh Mela' in Allahabad on January 29, 2017. Two Hindu priests have been arrested in India for marrying off their teenage children, police said Monday. (AFP / SANJAY KANOJIA)
Updated 06 February 2017
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Indian priests arrested for marrying off their children

NEW DELHI: Two priests have been arrested in India for marrying off their teenage children in a secret ceremony they believed would bring prosperity to their families, police said Monday.
Three others, including the mothers of the betrothed, were also detained when police broke up the Hindu wedding rituals in the southern city of Hyderabad.
Police, acting on a tip off, discovered dozens of family members present at the secretive ceremony to wed the 15 and 13-year-old teenagers.
“We received information about the wedding and during the raid rescued the children before arresting the five accused,” police inspector Narender Goud told AFP.
Their parents claimed the marriage was a family tradition premised on the belief that it would bring them good fortune, Goud said.
The priests justified the union by claiming they too were married at the same age.
Child marriages are illegal in India but the practice remains widespread, especially in rural and poorer parts of the country where superstitious beliefs are rife.
The teenagers alleged they were compelled to marry by their parents, Goud said. They remain at a local child welfare agency.
Almost half of all Indian women aged 20-24 married between 2005 and 2013 were wedded before the legal age of 18, a UNICEF report said last year.
Many parents in India marry off their children in the hope of improving their financial security and to avoid the shame associated with pre-marital sex.


Philippines’ Duterte in war of words over Canada garbage row

Updated 11 sec ago
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Philippines’ Duterte in war of words over Canada garbage row

PORAC, Philippines: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday demanded Canada take back tons of trash it had illegally shipped to Manila or risk “war,” in the latest incident to strain bilateral ties.
The Philippines has urged Canada to take back scores of garbage containers shipped to the country in 2013 and 2014, alleging they contain toxic waste.
But Ottawa has said it had no authority to compel a private shipper to return the shipment to Canada.
Speaking to officials during a visit north of Manila, an area ravaged by an earthquake on Monday, Duterte said he did not care if his stance on the issue turned the two countries into enemies.
“I want a boat prepared. I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out, or I will set sail for Canada and dump their garbage back there,” he said.
“Let’s fight Canada. I will declare war against them,” added the president, who frequently uses coarse language and hyperbole in public speeches about opponents.
The garbage is among several festering issues that have soured ties between the two governments.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been among the most vocal critics of the domestic drug war waged by Duterte, who was elected in 2016.
Philippine police say they have killed nearly 5,000 alleged drug users and pushers who fought against arrest in the crackdown, while rights groups say the true toll is at least triple that and may amount to crimes against humanity.
Last year Duterte angrily canceled the Philippine military’s $235 million contract to buy 16 military helicopters from a Canada-based manufacturer after the Trudeau government put the deal under review because of the president’s human rights record.