IT IS famous that policemen are infamous for various reasons. But this one takes the cake.
“Just 15 minutes, decide or go to jail,” was their order. The father and son duo huddled in a corner in the scorching sun at the Chakeri police station pondering over the options. The boy, minutes later, moved to give in to the demand: Divorce his wife.
Three words, that are genesis of many a controversy, flowed out on the police station campus and the boy was taken to court to sign the divorce papers. The police, by then, had written a new chapter — forced talaq — in a police station — after detaining the husband and his father illegally for nine hours.
The boy, Sharib Anis, a senior research engineer with Y-Lab Singapore, couldn’t bear up with the trauma and took the next flight to Singapore. And his family is still looking for reasons why the police behaved in such a way. “This has been the worst phase of my life.… All I can say is that it was very painful and I accepted the diktat only because I didn’t want my family to come under any harm,” Sharib told Hindustan Times over telephone from Singapore.
An M Tech, Sharib was married to Shabnam Siddiqui, working as a HR head in Mirza Tanners, on November 11 last. In three days Sharib was off to Singapore to make arrangements for his partner visiting him in the coming December. All was well till this point of time and Shabnam stayed with her in-laws for a week in Yashoda Nagar.
She left home on ground of resuming her duty and never returned to the Anis household. Her father Moinuddin Siddiqui calls the vast communication gap and demands for dowry the reason for the separation. “There were other things involved and we decided for the divorce,” he said. Sharib’s father Anis Farooqi, a retired railway official, has a different take on this happening.
“We are yet to find out why they did so. No reasons were given nor did they attempt to negotiate. She lived with us for a week and it’s too little a time for differences to crop up," he says. The girl’s father used influence to approach Inspector-General of Police (Kanpur zone) Rizwan Ahmed, who was so moved by the story that he went for the ‘instant solution’.
Sharib arrived in Kanpur on June 24. Three days later some cops took him away with his father, without any charges against them. At the police station, they were subjected to humiliation. The Anis family offered to talk to the girl’s family but it was turned down.
“It was unbearable for us. We decided to accept it when a cop tersely told us “Bahut ho gayi tumhari nautanki, 15 minute mein decide karo ya qaide se bhugto.… auratein-bachche sab jail jaoge,” recalls Farooqi.
The formalities were completed and the father and son returned home at 10 pm that night. When contacted Inspector General zone did confirm to have had asked the Senior Superintendent of Police to take this matter seriously and get a patch-up done.
“Is it right to force someone to divorce against his/her wishes?” the Inspector General was asked.
“The move was to save the girl as the boy had an affair. You people must sympathise with the girl,” said the Inspector General.