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TV drama showing nine-year-old boys marriage to adult woman is pulled from airwaves

An Indian soap opera that portrayed the marriage of a nine-year-old boy to a grown woman has been taken off the air.

Immediately attracting criticism after its launch in July, Pehredar Piya Kim, or “Husband’s Guard”, was accused of “encouraging, glorifying and promoting” child marriage.

Now. Sony Entertainment Television (SET) which broadcast the programme, has now announced it will pull it from the airwaves.

Pehredar Piya Kim portrayed the relationship between the young Prince Ratan Kunwar and 18-year-old Diya, with whom the boy becomes infatuated.

At one point Diya saved the prince’s life and his dying father asked her to marry the youngster to protect him from palace plotters.

Asha Bajpai, of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, accused the soap of “encouraging, glorifying and promoting child marriages.”

She added that it would “negatively affect the entire society,”

Child marriage is prohibited in India, but the United Nations Childrens Fund (Unicef) said third of all underage brides worldwide live there.

“Both girls and boys are affected by child marriage, but girls are affected in much larger numbers and with greater intensity,” the organisation said.

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Announcing the show’s cancellation, SET said: “While we understand that the decision to end this serial will be disappointing to those whose creative energies are vested in it, namely, its crew and cast, we (as a channel) are convinced that we will be better served by focusing instead on developing viewer interest in our upcoming, new shows.”