Hyderabad, India: Muslim girls fall victim to doddering sheikhs from the Gulf Print E-mail
 Saturday August 20 2005

Marriage mart flourishing in Hyderabad

From R. Akhileshwari DH News Service Hyderabad:

This is nothing but flesh trade. Some girls were married twice or thrice to different persons within a gap of a week or ten days, said deputy commissioner of police.
Heart-rending stories of exploitation of teenage Muslim girls by doddering men from the Gulf countries who marry the girls and abandon them soon after, continue to pour in from the Old City of Hyderabad.

The city police have arrested a "broker" for facilitating the marriages and are on the look out for a "qazi" who performed illegal marriages by showing them as adults. Although the government and Muslim elders promised to put an end to this exploitation, marriages continue unabated and the network of brokers-qazi continue to make good business. The broker gets at least Rs 10,000 for each marriage.

Early this week, police arrested 70-year old Zainab Begum for allegedly facilitating the marriage of two girls with a 65-year-old Arab on August 1st at Kalapather with the collusion of a qazi and a marriage broker. The Arab spent a night with the two girls Raheema and Saleema and later asked them to meet him after two days at a hotel at Abids promising to take them to Dubai.

When Raheema and Saleema went to the hotel the old man was missing. The girls and their parents lodged a complaint with the police. The chief broker Sheikh Mansoor who brokered the marriage is a much wanted man as also the qazi Khaled for running a racket that was exposed in 1997. Both are absconding.

In another incident, a woman broker Mumtaz Begum who works with four men to search and identify vulnerable girls from poverty-stricken families, allegedly showed 13 adolescent girls to four prospective Arab grooms. A 55-year old man married a 16-year old.

According to the girl who went to the police after the man deserted her, she was taken to a lodge where he confined her for 10 days not allowing her to go to her parents even though she was suffering from stomach pain. He had to let her go when the pain became acute.

She was treated at a hospital. He returned and took her back to the lodge. After four days, the problem recurred and she returned home. When he came back to fetch her for the third time she refused to go upon which he pronounced talaq three times and went away.

Deputy commissioner of police Sandeep Shandilya who is investigating the cases, said poverty and gullibility of the parents of young girls were the main reasons for the continuing exploitation of young girls. "This is nothing but flesh trade. Some girls were married twice or thrice to different persons within a gap of a week or ten days," he said.

In the last few weeks more than 100 girls had fallen victims to the "lust of sheikhs," he added.