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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Jharkhand: Married minor dodges husband, boards different train to escape

Rickshaw puller’s 16-year-old daughter, married to a 40-year-old divorcee, says she doesn’t want to go back to “the hell”.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2017 09:51 IST
Pankaj Kumar
Pankaj Kumar
Hindustan Times, Dhanbad
The CWC has warned the family on the legal hassles involving child marriages and of stern action if they pressed the girl to go back to her over-aged husband.
The CWC has warned the family on the legal hassles involving child marriages and of stern action if they pressed the girl to go back to her over-aged husband.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Married to a man 24 years older to her against her wishes, a Muslim minor girl from Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district refused to return with him following her maiden visit to her parent’s house after marriage.

The 16-year-old from Kumardhubi locality may not have mustered enough courage to sever the marriage her parents had solemnised, but she was brave enough to dodge her husband and board another train that took her to Raipur while the couple were returning to Gujarat after the girl spent a few days at her parents’ place.

Though the incident is around two months old, the Dhanbad Child Welfare Committee (CWC) brought the matter to fore on Thursday when they handed over the aggrieved girl to her parents after nearly a month long rehabilitation and counselling.

Before reuniting the girl with her parents, the CWC gave the family a sound piece of advice on the legal hassles involving child marriages and warned them of stern action if they pressed the girl to go to her over-aged husband, who has children from his now-estranged first wife.

The CWC is also mooting legal actions against the husband, Shakkar Khan, a resident of Kutch in Gujarat and have summoned him.

“I don’t want to go back to the hell. I want to study,” said the girl at the CWC office, as she narrated her ordeal.

The incident has surfaced at a time when there is a raging debate over the banning of triple talaq—by which a Muslim man utters the word ‘talaq’ thrice and divorces his wife—in India. Several women’s organisations have opposed the Muslim Personal Law Board’s support to the controversial process that has ruined the lives of many Muslim women in the country.

“The CWC also has asked the parents to resume her studies that were disrupted due to the marriage solemnised on September 30 last year without the girl’s consent,” said CWC member, Shankar Rawani.

He said the committee has also decided to keep a tab on the welfare of the girl, who was studying in Class 9 at a government school when she was married.

Narrating her ordeal, the girl said she her husband had recently divorced his first wife but had kept it a secret. She said she came to know about his first marriage when she reached Gujarat.

Around a month after marriage, she came to Dhanbad. The husband came to take her back in January end. Since her father, Firoz Gazi is a rickshaw puller and had two more daughters to marry off, she did not protest and went with her husband to the railway station.

At the Dhanbad railway station, she dodged her husband and boarded a train that took her to Raipur in Chattishgarh. Finding her roaming aimlessly at the Raipur station, the railway police took her to the Raipur CWC.

She was kept in child welfare home for nearly a month before Raipur CWC contacted their Dhanbad counterparts to take her to her parents.

“I have four daughters. The eldest one was married two years ago. She is my second daughter. I married her off simply to rid myself off the responsibilities as early as possible. With the meagre income, I cannot afford good education to my children. Hence, marrying them off early is the only solution left with me,” said the rickshaw puller, unregretful of his action, but pleading for mercy before the CWC.

First Published: Apr 08, 2017 08:53 IST

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