HYDERABAD: News of the marriage of a minor girl from the city with a 70-year-old Omani national took the country by storm in August this year. Four months later, the government has failed to rescue the girl and bring her back.
When reports of the marriage first emerged, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, the Union minister for women and child development, expressed her anguish on Twitter and sought a report on the issue from the city police.
The police promptly registered a case on August 16. Sushma Swaraj, the Union minister for external affairs, promised that the girl would be brought back to India.
The state government and the police department swung into action and launched an investigation. They learnt that Ahmed, the Omani national, reportedly paid a broker `5 lakh to marry him to the girl at a farmhouse in Jalpally in May, and then took the girl abroad with a passport based on a fraudulently-obtained Aadhaar card.
Based on the evidence, the Falaknuma Police arrested a broker named Ghousia, her husband Sajid, and a few others accused of involvement in the case.
However, since then, the investigation seems to have come to a standstill.
“Nothing has happened so far. The parents of the girl are continuously calling me and inquiring about her return,” says Amjed Ullah Khan, leader of the Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT).
“The authorities assured us that they would bring our daughter back, but nothing has happened so far,” says the teenager’s mother. The police say that that the case is still being pursued and progress is being made.
“We have provided all the required documents to the ministry of external affairs and the ministry of women and child development. They are pursuing the case through diplomatic channels,” says Syed Fayaz, ACP of Falaknuma.
Meanwhile, a few other Omani and Qatari nationals who have come to the city to marry minor girls, have been arrested.
The police also arrested Farid Ahmed, the chief Qazi of Mumbai; Ali Abdullah Rifai, a local Qazi; and a few other Qazis on charges of facilitating and solemnizing the marriages of minor girls, but all of them were recently released on bail.
Police sources say that officials from various departments of the Union government are closely following the arrests of foreign nationals and related reports.
“But when it comes to conducting talks with the Omani government and the authorities concerned to bring the girl back, they do not show much enthusiasm,” says an official.