From eloping, getting jailed in a rape case to reuniting after an interfaith marriage – this couple from Mumbai’s Nallasopara has seen it all. But their battle is far from over, their new challenge – getting custody of their six-month-old love child.
Here’s how it all started. Chand Shaikh, 23, met Puja Dube, 18, who lived in the same building, in 2013. As her family was against the match, the couple eloped in 2016.
The family of the girl, who was then 17, filed a case of kidnapping against Shaikh. Shaikh was arrested and the girl was rescued.
The police later learned she was four months pregnant, after which they pressed additional charges of rape under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act against Shaikh, said Anjali Patil, Shaikh’s lawyer.
Shaikh was in Thane central jail for four months, after which Puja managed to get him released. The police sent the child, Sameer, in the custody of the child welfare committee in Ulhasnagar.
Puja turned 18 on April 13, after which she got married to Shaikh after converting to Islam on May 15. Now, the couple wants to get their son’s custody.
“We want our child’s custody. The CWC officials don’t allow me to meet my son. How do I convince them of my loyalty towards my wife [now Ayesha] and family,” said Shaikh.