In a major crackdown on recent spurt of child marriages in the city, the Hyderabad police arrested 5 Omani and 3 Qatari nationals. The police also arrested 3 Qazis which include Farid Ahmed Khan, a chief Qazi of Mumbai. Farid Ahmed has been accused of preparing forged marriage certificates and Nikahnamas which resulted in the creation of a international human trafficking ring. The police has also arrested 4 lodge owners and 5 “brokers” in connection with this case.
According to the city Police Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy, these Arab Sheikhs were marrying minor girls with the help of Qazis, brokers and lodge owners. He also claimed that the girls were even sexually assaulted by the Qazis. He stated that charges under the Indian Penal Code like Sections 420 (cheating and dishonest), 370 (exploitation), rape and POCSO Act have been filed.
This crackdown closely follows a complaint by a woman in August against her husband for allegedly “Selling off” their minor daughter to a 70-year-old Omani national named Ahmed Abdullah. The girl is still believed to be stuck in Oman.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police V Satyanarayana stated that, poor families with minor girls were targeted by the accused who promised the families money and a marriage in the gulf countries. The sheikhs used to reported spend Rs 3-10 lakh for each marriage and the majority of the money was taken by the Qazis and the brokers.
According to the report, the work of these so-called brokers (who also lived in gulf countries) was that they used to acquaint themselves with local Arab nationals and connect them with Indian girls and their families. They also arranged the visas, passports and fake documents like birth certificate etc for the girls.
In order to stop such incidences, the police has now asked foreigners who want to marry a city girl to bring an NOC from their country and also submit an application with the Police Commissioner. The police has also asked the age gap between the bride and the groom to not be more than 10 years.
Over the years, Hyderabad has been plagued by many such marriage trafficking instances. In 2015 too the police had busted such a racket and arrested several people including brokers and 3 Qazis. In 2011 incidentally people including two Sudanese nationals and three Qazis had been arrested by the police while cracking down on such rackets.