"You have 15 minutes. Decide to divorce your wife or go to jail." Faced with this diktat from a police officer, Sharib Anis, a senior research engineer with Y-Lab Singapore, agreed to part with his wife.
Sharib's family has alleged that his wife and her relatives used the police to force a talaq. Sharib married Shabnam Siddiqui, the HR head of Mirza Tanners, on November 11 last year. Three days later, Sharib was off to Singapore to make arrangements for his partner's visit in December. Shabnam lived with her in-laws for a week and then left home to resume her job. She never returned.
Her father Moinuddin Siddiqui blames the divorce on a communication gap and demands for dowry. Sharib's father Anis Farooqi, a retired railway official, has a different take. "She lived with us for a week and that's too little time for differences to crop up," he said. He alleged that Shabnam's father approached a good friend of Inspector General of Police (Kanpur zone) Rizwan Ahmed for help to end the marriage.
Sharib arrived in Kanpur on June 24 to settle the issue. Three days later, a police team took him and his father. At the police station, the cops tried to armtwist him to divorce his wife. "Bahut ho gayi tumhari nautanki, 15 minute mein decide karo ya qaide bhugto... auratein-bachche sab jail jaoge, a policeman told us. We had had enough. We gave in," recalls Farooqi.