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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Assam: Muslim girl’s chhoti si riot story

Rahul Karmakar, Hindustan Times  Guwahati, August 25, 2012
First Published: 00:29 IST(25/8/2012) | Last Updated: 00:58 IST(25/8/2012)

Surrounded by hatred and fear in violence-hit western Assam, Jamaluddin Sheikh, 43, a relief camp inmate in the Muslim-majority Dhubri district, entrusted his 19-year-old daughter’s life to a Hindu he met for the first time at the camp and took an instant liking to.

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“I was worried for my daughter, Jasmina, who was feeling insecure in the relief camp. I confided in baapdai and he didn’t hesitate to take her home,” Sheikh said.

And baapdai (father of fathers) Balai Barman, 62, a respected figure in the nearby village of Hindu Bengalis and Rajbongshis, more than amply reciprocated that trust.

He found a suitable Muslim groom for Jasmina and got her married on August 18 — 29 days after the Bodo-Muslim violence erupted. Barman hosted the
marriage in his house and paid much of the Rs. 35,000 spent on the nikaah ceremony and a modest feast for select villagers and camp inmates.

“It’s a weight off my chest,” he said on Friday.

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