Indian girl beaten and starved by her own MOTHER for refusing to wed at just 11 inspires protest against child marriage with #StrengthtoSayNo hashtag

Indian protesters are taking to Twitter to share the #StrengthtoSayNo hashtag as part of a campaign to crack down on child marriage.

Launched by Penguin Books in association with news website Better India, the initiative seeks to bring awareness to the all-too-common practice of forced underage marriage, in a country where one in five brides is under the age of 15.

The hashtag was inspired by an Indian girl called Rekha Kalindi, now 18, who refused an arranged marriage at the age of just 11 and was allegedly beaten and starved by her own mother for doing so.

Rekha, who has published her own memoir, Strength to Say No, says she worked from the age of four-years-old to help support her family.

They lived in a remote Indian village where, according to children’s right charity Humanium, ‘when a girl is born, it is always bad news’.

Fortunately for her, the National Child Labour Project in collaboration with UNICEF funded her to get a school education, where she gained a certain level of independence.

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