Hussein Saab was beaten up by the minor student’s father and relatives after he refused to help in illegally changing the girl’s date of birth.

Ktaka headmaster refuses to help in minors marriage plot gets attacked
news Crime Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - 19:15

For 47-year-old Hussein Saab, headmaster of the government high school in Vijayapura’s Sindagi taluk, minor girls being married off is a grave concern. On Tuesday morning, when he advised the parents of a 16-year-old girl against getting her married, things took an ugly turn.

Hussein was beaten up by the minor girl’s father and relatives after he refused to take part in the task of illegally changing the girl’s date of birth.

Speaking to TNM, Hussein said, “It was around 11.30 or 11.45 in the morning yesterday (Tuesday) when one of my student’s father, Raju Melinamane, and his brothers came to the school and said they wanted to talk to me about something important.”

Raju Melinamane allegedly asked Hussein to sign a letter stating that his daughter was born in 2001. “The girl was born in 2003. They wanted me to sign the letter so they could obtain a fake birth certificate. I was appalled. I have seen parents do so many underhand things to get their daughters married. But approaching a headmaster and asking him to participate in such illegal activities was a first for me and it was shocking,” Hussein said.

Taken aback by Raju’s request, Hussein allegedly advised him to wait until his daughter was of legal age to get her married. This did not sit well with Raju, who allegedly began shouting at Hussein and threatening him.

“When we started talking, he was polite. It looked like he came here expecting me to go along with his plan. When I refused, he began yelling and making threats,” Hussein said.

Refusing to help in the illegal act, Hussein claimed he told Raju that he would inform the police.

“That’s when Raju and the two other people, who I assume were the girl’s relatives, began beating me up. Initially Raju took me by my shirt collar and dragged me away with them. I don’t know where they took me after that because I was in a state of panic, but later I realised I was in an empty plot of land. There Raju and his men beat me up,” Hussein said.

Once Hussein became unconscious, Raju and the unidentified men allegedly fled. Hussein later woke up and went straight to the Sindagi Police and filed a complaint. The police have registered a case against Raju and two unknown persons under sections 363 (kidnapping) and 307 (attempted murder) of the IPC.

Speaking to TNM, Nirmala Surpura, the District Child Protection Officer for Vijayapura, says that child marriage is widely prevalent in the district. Despite the numerous awareness camps and counselling sessions her team conducts every month, she said people seem to be averse to changing their minds.

“These kinds of incidents, where family members of the minor girls beat up other people who stop them from marrying off their daughters is very common. You can say that it happens all the time. There has not been a single child protection officer in our district who has not been assaulted for trying to stop child marriages. In fact, I have been beaten up so many times. Last year one of the enforcement officers named Lakshmi had gone to stop a child marriage. The girl’s parents pushed her into a room and locked her up. In another case, the girl’s mother and aunts grabbed me and began beating me up,” Nirmala alleged.

Between April 2018 and January 2019, the Vijayapura District Child Protection Unit has stopped 76 child marriages and FIRs were registered in four cases.

“In two cases, in spite of warnings given and despite us stopping the marriages once before, the parents got the minor girls married. In two cases, we obtained an injunction order from the court and stopped the marriages. If we get scared and not stop these marriages, we will never get anything accomplished. We go, we get beaten and we file cases against them. That’s our routine,” Nirmala added.

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