Saswat Singhdeo

Sambalpur: As many as five marriages were cancelled during a mass marriage event of Muslim community in Sambalpur today after fake age proofs of some brides-to-be were allegedly submitted.

In total, 21 couples from economically weaker background were part of the event, of which 5 brides turned out to be minors after an investigation by the police, Child Protection officer and Childline member, who had reached the venue this morning.

During the probe, it was found that fake Aadhaar cards were submitted following which marriage rituals of five couples were immediately stopped.

The Allah Hazrat Welfare Committee has been organising the mass marriage event for last few years. The members of the organising committee have said that before conducting any marriage, documents will be thoroughly verified henceforth.

"We got a call late last night that a few of the brides-to-be are minors. After an investigation we found that three of them had submitted fake certificates," said organiser Atif Aslam.

Commenting on the submission of fake documents, District Child Protection Officer, Suchismita Patnayak said, "Document verification process is currently underway. Only after the inquiry gets over, we will be able to provide further details."

On the other hand, member of Childline, Jyoti Satpathy said, "After we received the information that some of the girls were minors, the verification process was undertaken in presence of the CDPO."