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Published On:07 July 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

After sheikhs, students eye Andhra brides

By Sreenivas Janyala

So far, the grooms were largely from Gulf countries such as Oman or Saudi Arabia, usually middle-aged and always rich. They would sign a “contract” for marriage with a Muslim teenager in Hyderabad, paying her needy family between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh, and then dump her after a short honeymoon and fly home.

Now, the agents behind such contracts have expanded their scope to include foreign students, usually East African. Like the Arabs, they too dump their young brides when they go home, with a clause in the contract specifying that the marriage ends when it is time to leave.

“The clause is in fine print, or on a blank paper that the girl unknowingly signs and which is later used to terminate the marriage,” says M S Sami, assistant secretary of the state Waqf Board, which issues marriage certificates for Muslims and is now scanning several “suspicious marriages”.

“We do not have the power to act if we find anything amiss,” Sami admits. “The qazis who perform the marriage are appointed by the government and are not under our jurisdiction.”

Last week, police arrested a Sudanese student who had “married” a 16-year-old girl on June 9. The girl lodged a police complaint when a friend of the student moved into their apartment and started making advances. Police found that the student, Mohammed Mohammed Elshafie Mohammed Elthassan alias Ansari, 25, doing an MA at Osmania University, had entered into a contract marriage.

“The girl was supposed to live with him as his wife till the completion of his studies, after which the marriage was to be terminated,” says A S Mohammed Ismail, Assistant Commissioner of Police.

“The girl had signed a blank paper without knowing that the qazi would prepare a post-dated document stating that she had agreed to a divorce,” said Ismail, whose team recovered the document.

The girl’s father, a mechanic, had been approached by two women with the marriage proposal. “The father agreed when they said the groom would pay Rs 50,000. The money was shared between her father, the two women and the qazi, who entered the girl’s age as 18,” Ismail says.

A day earlier, another qazi was arrested for trying to force a 17-year-old to marry a 60-year-old Arabian national. A mediator had arranged to pay Rs 4 lakh to the family; the mother initially agreed but backed out a few days later. However, as he had already been paid, the qazi, Ali Abdullah Rafai alias Abid, sent his son to forcibly bring the girl for the marriage. She fought him off and lodged a police complaint.

After his arrest, the government suspended the qazi who, police officials say, may have arranged at least 150 such marriages, with most of the girls since dumped.

“We cannot blame all the qazis but yes, many of them are performing such marriages,” says Deputy Commissioner Vineet Brijlal.

There is no mechanism within the community to prevent such marriages. Waqf Board chief executive officer Habibuddin Ahmed says it is the responsibility of the qazis to shun such practices; the Minority Welfare Department says the Waqf Board should not issue marriage certificates in suspicious cases.

Police Commissioner A K Khan has arranged a meeting of all qazis, Waqf Board officials, Minority Welfare Minister Syed Mohammed Abdullah, and Muslim leaders to chalk out a plan.

(Courtesy: Indian Express)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on July 07, 2011. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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