The Hyderabad police on Friday arrested nine people for allegedly trafficking women and minor girls for ‘marriage’ internationally. A qazi (cleric), a lodge owner, and five brokers, including two women were among the nine arrested in two separate raids in the old city area, police said, the Hindustan Times quoted.
After receiving a complaint from Kulsum Begum on 30 October that a 50-year-old Bahraini national named Mohamed Mahmood Abdul Rehman Mahmood had married her second daughter Sameena Begum (29) in May 2017, but sent her back later, the police began the lookout.
“After marriage they took her daughter to Bahrain, treated her as maid servant, and after fulfilling their sexual desires they sent her back,” the Deputy commissioner of police (south zone) V Satyanarayana said.
In yet another incident, Rehman Mahmood and his brother Yousuf Mahmood Abdul Rahman Mahmood Khairi came to Hyderabad again, with the former trying to get married to a minor girl.
The strict police vigilance kept them at bay, and that’s when they discovered the agents and aazis had started to operate from the outskirts.
Based on a tip off, the police raided the lodge where the Bahrain nationals were staying at, and arrested the accused and rescued the girl. A case had been registered under sections 370 (offence of buying and disposing of any person as a slave) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code against the accused.
On 9 November, Salma Begum lodged a complaint that she got her 14-year-old daughter married off to an Omani Sheikh named Sagharoun Salim Abdallah (64) in October 2014, after she was assured by the brokers that links with Arab Sheiks could relieve her of all financial trouble.
“The Omani Sheik paid Rs 1 lakh to the agents, who pocketed Rs 40,000 and gave the remaining amount to the girl’s family. The agents also manipulated the documents to show that the girl was not a minor and managed to get her a passport,” the DCP said.
The Omani national spent 10 days with the girl, and then returned to his country. The girl was allegedly sexually harassed and tortured, and when she returned to India in March 2017, she refused to go back to Oman.
In September 2016, police arrested eight sheiks from Qatar, a Mumbai-based qazi, and scores of brokers, besides hotel owners. A week later, the chief qazi of Hyderabad, who was the alleged kingpin of the trafficking ring, was arrested.
Hyderabad has emerged as the capital for “virgin minor brides”. Poverty and pile-up of debts has pushed many of them into despair and parents are being lured by Arab nationals to get their daughters married in exchange.