Though dip in cases, gulf marriage fraud continues in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: A network of flesh trade brokers is active across India which caters to buyers from Middle East countries among others, and sells off underage girls in the name of marriage. The latest case is of Sayeeda’s daughter, a 16-year-old girl, married off to 65-year-old Omani national. Later Sayeeda approached the Falaknuma police alleging that her daughter was married to the sheikh without her consent. Arab national was said to have paid Rs. 5 lakh to girl’s father at the time of the marriage performed three months ago. Ghousia an agent played a key role in striking the deal. Now the sheik is demanding back his money if Sayeeda wanted her daughter back.

According to Ms Jameela Nishath, a social activist working on women’s issues in the Old City many brokers are raking in money by facilitating these marriages. They work as agent between prospective clients and their counterparts in Hyderabad to fix the marriage. Since the victims are very poor they cannot follow up the cases with the police. Moreover the brokers are very affluent and hire expensive lawyers and get away scot-free.

Majlis Bachao Tahreek leader Amjedullah Khan also laments over the situation saying that the police has failed in curbing the menace and nabbing the middlemen who are involved in these cases. He pointed out that in the latest case the broker Ghousia was previously involved in similar other cases too. Had the broker’s activities monitored, she would not have got involved in such crimes.

Ms Shakira Parveen, another woman activist from Old City revealed that in most of the cases the families are lured with the promise of a bright future for their daughters. She made shocking revelation that a divorce document is signed at the time of marriage itself, which the family members are unaware of. After the foreign national leaves the city, either it is sent by post or the Qazi hands it over to the family.

However, as reported by DC, the number of contract marriages of Muslim girls in the old city with Arab Sheikhs had come down in last two years.

Police believe that the crackdown on Qazis has curbed exploitation. They say that for fear of getting arrested the Qazis have stopped solemnising marriages of local girls with foreign nationals. According to DCP (south) V. Satyanarayana only two marriages were reported during the last two years.