Police put brakes on ‘contract’ marriages

For the fear of being arrested, qazis hesitate to solemnise weddings of minor girls with foreigners.

By Author  |  Published: 15th Dec 2016  11:38 pmUpdated: 16th Dec 2016  11:20 pm
Contract Marriages
Qazi Habeeb Ahmed Bin Salam Al Attas whose ancestors performed several marriages in Old City .

Hyderabad: The crackdown launched by the police against qazis, who were found to be performing contract marriages in the old city, started yielding positive results. With most qazis hesitating to solemnise marriages of innocent girls with foreigners for the fear of getting arrested, the number of contract marriages has come down significantly.

This year only one case was reported in the old city involving a Somalian, Mohammed Ismail Muse (54), and three brokers. The Somalian was getting married to a minor girl of Madannapet in January when police foiled his plans.  “In that case, the marriage was fixed and the qazi alerted us for fear of getting arrested. We opened suspect sheets against Qazis, who were solemnising marriages of foreign nationals with minor girls from the city,” V Satyanarayana, DCP (South), said.

A significant drop has been witnessed in the contract marriages in the last three years. While three cases were reported in 2013, two cases were filed in 2015, resulting in the arrest of five foreign nationals. “Apart from keeping a watch on the offices of qazis, we have taken up awareness campaigns in localities with the help of women’s groups. Several such women’s groups are supporting us,” Satyanarayana said.

The police have also maintained a record of all those persons, including brokers and middlemen, who were actively involved in organising the marriages by luring poor families with money. “Local brokers played a key role in facilitating such marriages and took commission from foreign nationals and family members of the girls,” K Babu Rao, Additional DCP (South) said, adding that now a police team frequently visits houses of brokers and keeps a note of their activities.

Meanwhile, the Minorities Welfare Department is also insisting that qazis collect all documents including a ‘no objection certificate’ from foreign nationals before solemnising such marriages. The certificate is to be issued by a government agency of the country to which the bridegroom belongs.