On Saturday (October 23), a Muslim woman was gang-raped by an Islamic cleric under the pretext of performing ‘Nikkah Halala’. The incident took place at a hotel in Transport Nagar of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
As per reports, the accused were identified as Maulana Sarfaraz and his two aides Hafiz Umaid and Riyasat. The victim (name withheld) was divorced by her husband about 6 months ago, under the banned practice of triple talaq. However, the duo got closer and wanted to remarry again. As per Islamic traditions, such a marriage could not be facilitated without the practice of Nikah Halala. The woman, a resident of Lisari gate, sought the help of Maulana Sarfaraz as he lived in the Shahjahan colony of Lisari gate.
The Islamic cleric convinced the woman that she could only remarry her first husband after the completion of Halala. He intimidated the victim into silence by claiming that it will be a matter of shame if others knew about it. He also vowed that his acquaintances would not contact them after Halala. Influenced by societal fear of judgment, the victim and her first husband agreed to the affair.
Victim gang-raped at hotel, managed to notify the police
For this purpose, Maulana Sarfaraz had called in his acquaintances Hafiz Umaid and Riyasat to Meerut on Saturday (October 23) from the Baghpat district. He had assured the victim that Hafiz Umaid would do the nikkah and leave in the morning after consummating the marriage. At about 9 o’clock in the night, the woman was taken to the hotel ‘UV-Inn’ that is located on National Highway-58 in Transport Nagar.
Under the pretext of ‘Halala’, Hafiz Umaid and Riyasat took turns to rape the woman. The victim somehow managed to contact her cousin and narrate her ordeal. On receiving information, the Transport Nagar police reached the hotel and arrested the two accused. Meerut SP City Vineet Bhatnagar informed that a First Information Report (FIR) was registered by the police against Hafiz Umaid, Riyasat and Maulana Sarfaraz on the complaint of the woman. The police have deployed teams to nab the Islamic cleric.
Islamic cleric still at large, cops launch a manhunt
The police have recovered the CCTV footage from the hotel and have recorded the statement of the hotel staff. During the preliminary investigation, it has come to light that Maulana Sarfaraz and his aides had earlier gang-raped several women in the name of Nikah Halala. He hails from Budhana in Muzaffarnagar and has been living in Lisari gate in UP for a long time. The absconding Islamic cleric and Hafiz Umaid would earlier teach at a madrassa in Milana village of Doghat.
Nikah-Halala is a practice of a divorced woman having to consummate the marriage with another man and then getting a divorce from him before remarrying her previous husband. In numerous instances, it has been seen that the woman is forced to have sex with multiple men by the husband after giving her the Triple Talaq. Despite their inhuman, exploitative nature, the practices continue to receive support from the AIMPLB.