Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday launched a State-wide campaign to abolish child marriage and dowry, drawing strength from the campaign he had launched last year to make the State alcohol-free. He also said a human chain would be formed in support of the campaign on January 21, 2018. “We had implemented prohibition in the State last year and launched a massive campaign in its support by forming a human chain on January 21, 2017…. Similarly, I would appeal to all of you to form a human chain on January 21, 2018, in support of the campaign to put an end to the wrong practices of child marriage and dowry,” Mr. Kumar said. The JD(U) leader was addressing a function organised by the Social Welfare Department at the Ashok Convention Centre’s Bapu Sabhaghar here, which was inaugurated on Monday. On January 21 this year, Bihar had formed the world’s largest human chain, as per the government’s claim, in support of the liquor ban with Mr. Kumar, leaders from various political parties and citizens holding each other’s hands at the Gandhi Maidan in the State capital here.‘Political angle’ Mr. Kumar appealed to all sections of society to put an end to social evils such as child marriage and dowry and not politicise them. “Do not view everything from a political angle,” he said. The Chief Minister, who administered an oath to the people not to promote or support such social evils in any manner, also asked them to shun child marriage functions or marriages where dowry had been taken. Mr. Kumar said as per the Government of India’s crime data, Bihar ranked 26th in terms of crimes against women in the country, but added that the situation was alarming when it came to dowry-related cases.Dowry-related atrocities “Bihar ranks second in the country after neighbouring Uttar Pradesh when it comes to dowry-related cases. In 2016, 987 cases of dowry deaths were registered in Bihar, while the number of cases of dowry-related atrocities was 4,852,” he said, adding that the percentage of child marriage cases in the State stood at 39. The Chief Minister pointed out that this was the situation, despite there being laws – the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 – to eliminate such ill practices.