Days after the case of a 16-year-old girl from Hyderabad being sold off and married to a 77-year-old Omani sheikh surfaced, the Telangana Minorities Welfare Department is working on a proposal that would enact a law to prevent such cases in the future.
The Hyderabad police on Friday arrested two men who helped perform the 'marriage'.
The police said the marriage was performed at the insistence of Ghousia Begum, the girl’s aunt, who lives in Muscat. She and her husband, Sikander, along with their contacts here, allegedly lured the girl's parents with the promise that their daughter would lead a lavish life.
“Generally, the families which are tricked by foreign nationals into marrying their girls to them are poor and illiterate. So we have asked the state government to frame a law which sets legal regulations to be adhered to by a foreign national who is willing to marry a girl from Telangana”, Telangana Minorities Welfare Department Secretary Syed Omer Jaleel told The New Indian Express.
“The (marriage) application should be verified by a police official of at least a sub inspector’s rank. The marriage should take place and be considered legitimate only after the concerned person receives an NOC from the police for it," he added.
The department also proposed strict action against those who do not follow these rules during the time of marriage.
In the case of the Omani national, the police has registered a case of cheating and criminal intimidation against the Omani, the girl's father, father’s sister, the qazi and others.
The marriage was performed in May at a guest house in Jalpally where the Omani national was staying. He returned home after the marriage and sent a visa for the girl, who later joined him in Muscat.
Later, the girl informed her parents over the phone that her husband was mentally and physically torturing her.
Following this, her mother Fathima* lodged a complaint at the Falaknuma police station that her husband, his sister and brother-in-law "sold" the girl to the Omani man for Rs 5 lakh.
The police officer said they were making all efforts to bring the girl back to Hyderabad.
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has also urged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to intervene.
The police also said that they were keeping a close watch on 60 brokers who were identified during the investigation of these cases in recent years. However, brokers based in Mumbai and even abroad were carrying on their activities by duping poor and illiterate families.