After the ‘child bride’ racket was uncovered in Hyderabad last October, Telangana NRI Affairs Minister KT Rama Rao has now asked officials to keep track of the racket.
Speaking about old Arab sheikhs trying to "marry" local minor girls, KTR pointed out the instructions given by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to the Telangana government, directing them to take stringent action in such cases.
"We should chalk out some plans to curb this. Sushma madam has also assured that she would help to bring citizens back. But, if they are found guilty, their passport would be cancelled for five years," he was quoted as saying.
He was speaking at a review meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday with state Home Minister Nayini Narasimha Reddy and Telangana DGP M Mahender Reddy. Hyderabad Commissioner VV Srinivas Rao, Cyberabad Commissioner Sandeep Sandilya and Rachakonda Commissioner Mahesh M Bhagwat were also present.
The police said that the parents were paid around Rs 1 lakh each, while the middlemen and agents made away with most of the money.
"There is a massive network, and at least Rs 5 lakh to 10 lakh changes hands at each such instance," said Telangana DGP Mahender Reddy.
As part of the crackdown, the police said they have identified more than 35 brokers in Hyderabad alone.
In October 2017, the Hyderabad police rescued 12 underage girls and busted a major racket which led to the arrest of 20 accused, including eight Arabs — five Omanis and three Qataris.
Minor girls from poor Muslim families being married to elderly Arabs is not new in Hyderabad. The well-organised racket involves middlemen in Hyderabad and in countries in the Gulf, who lure poor families with the promise to pull them out of poverty.
The racket continues to thrive with the connivance of the ‘qazis’, who perform such marriages in violation of all rules.
Meanwhile, KTR also asked officials to act against illegal or fake travel agents, who dupe several people who seek jobs in Gulf countries.
“A special drive will be conducted shortly against unauthorised agents. Those who do not register themselves will be treated as illegal or fake agents, and necessary criminal action will be initiated against them,” KTR said.
In both the Telugu states, several women are sent on Khadama visas (domestic help visas) to the Gulf nations, and face harassment.
While the Indian government has introduced several stringent restrictions when it comes to emigrating to certain countries, there are several loopholes on the ground.
Even after knowing the horrifying stories of harassment in Gulf countries, women from both states still continue to migrate through illegal means. One of the main reasons for this is said to be the economic crisis faced by people in both states due to unemployment.