Contract marriages, a practice that began in the 70s, continues to this day , with many cases going unreported

The emergence of yet another case involving the marriage of a minor girl to a Sudanese national has brought to the fore the continuing trend of contract marriages in city.

What puzzles people is how brokers and qazis continue to solemnise these marriages and evade the long arm of law. If the latest case of a minor girl alleging that she was sold by her parents to six different persons in the name of marriage is shocking, many similar cases go unreported as victims fail to garner courage to come out and speak, social activists point out.

What began in early seventies continues till date, with the activity spreading to the surrounding districts and neighbouring States as well. The qazis-broker syndicate exploited the situation and benefited the most through the practice, they say. “Many brokers are continuing their activities with the active support of few qazis for the last few years. It is the huge money received as commission that attracts them,” informs Jameela Nishath, a woman activist.

In 2013, Moghalpura police arrested a broker Mumtaz Begum, who allegedly facilitated the marriage of a Sudan national, Osama Karar Eltahir alias Osama Ibrahim, with a minor girl. The woman had also facilitated the marriage of Ahmed Yahiya, another Sudan national sometime in January last year, apart from a few more marriages.

In 2011, police had arrested two Sudanese along with two pimps, Zahra Begum and Ghousia Begum, for enabling the marriage of minor girls with foreigners.

The broker network is spread from the oil-rich West Asia to India. Brokers staying in foreign countries search for prospective clients and then contact their counterparts in Hyderabad to fix the marriage and take away anywhere between 20 to 50 per cent of the money paid as commission, it is said. “Nothing will change until police put the brokers and qazis under surveillance. Moreover, it should be ensured that NRIs take necessary permission from their countries to enter into a wedlock here,” Mohd. Turab, executive secretary of the Confederation of Voluntary Associations says.

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