Cong, BJP lock horns over Angoori Devi age row

Bhopal: The Bharatiya Janata Party and the main opposition Congress seem to be locked in a war of words over the issue of marriage of an orphan tribal girl – Angoori Devi in Tikamgarh district of the state.

At the helm of controversy is the age of Angoori Devi, with Congress claiming that she was a minor when she got married last month under the state government`s `kanyadaan` scheme, while the BJP said she was an adult at the time of her matrimony.

While Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh claimed that the girl`s school records stated that she was born in 1996, state BJP president Prabhat Jha maintained that she was born much earlier, as per an age certificate issued by medical officer in the neighbouring Chhattarpur district.

Singh said the certificate had no meaning as the girl was married in Tikamgarh district and therefore her age certificate should have come from a doctor there. "It is only because the doctor there refused to give a fake certificate that the BJP has got an age certificate from Chhattarpur," he alleged, claiming that the document was obtained since the Minister of State for SC and ST Welfare Harishankar Khatik was in-charge of Chhattarpur district.

After her marriage was settled, an invitation for the ceremony was issued in the name of Jha and Khatik, Ajay said and demanded the dismissal of Khatik for having participated in the wedding of a `minor`.

Even as Singh has written to BJP president Nitin Gadkari to take action against Jha in the matter, the latter said the allegations were baseless and there was no controversy at all over the issue, since the girl`s age proof certified that she was not a minor. While Jha claimed that Congress genereal secretary Rahul Gandhi had stayed at Angoori Devi`s house during his visit to Bundelkhand region, Singh has dismissed the report.