Young woman’s mother says marriage forced upon them

The mother of the young woman who made allegations of child marriage has complained to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) against a citizen of the UAE who married and later divorced the young woman and the authorities of a local orphanage whom she accused of proposing the marriage. The SHRC has asked the State Police Chief and the Social Justice Department to investigate the matter.

In the complaint, she says that the marriage was forced upon them by the orphanage authorities.

“I sent her to the orphanage because our financial situation was not good. She has been staying there for the past 12 years. When they proposed the idea of marriage, we refused. They kept on forcing us and I was made to sign several papers. I am uneducated and did not know what the content was. We relented under pressure and after the marriage on June 13 she was taken to several places and sexually harassed. He divorced her through phone on August 6,” the mother says in her complaint.

The issue has brought back the debates surrounding ‘Arabi kalyanam,’ a practice prevalent till about a decade back in Malabar in which Arab citizens married women from economically poor families only to abandon them in a short period in most cases.

K.E. Gangadharan, State Human Rights Commission member, says that it is a clear case of exploitation of poverty. “Such short-term marriages which are executed by a contract are common among economically backward sections. Their families are lured into the marriage with small payments or gold by foreign nationals. They are left in the lurch when the man goes back to his country after a few days. Practices like Mutah marriages need to be curbed by religious and cultural leaders. Also, the social situation that leads these families into such traps need to be probed and alleviating measures should be taken,” say Mr. Gangadharan.

Care plan for woman

The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has directed the Malappuram District Probation Officer under the Social Justice Department to submit within 24 hours a care plan for the woman.

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