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Trafficking of child brides: Register girls’ marriage to Arabs, women’s panel recommends

Hyderabad Police arrested 11 Arabs, four qazis (who solemnise nikaahs) and four hotel owners on charges of trafficking minor girls to Gulf countries.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2018 23:08 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Child marriage,Child brides,Trafficking child brides
School children take part in an awareness campaign to stop child marriages.(PTI File/Representative image)

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has recommended compulsory registration of marriages of Muslim girls to Arab nationals to address allegations of trafficking of child brides.

This is among a series of recommendations the women’s panel sent to the Centre after it conducted a study into trafficking of Muslim child brides in Hyderabad’s old City. The Centre shared the panel’s proposal with the Telangana government in the last week of January.

Alok Rawat, a member of the national women’s panel, and Telangana women’s commission chairperson Tripurana Venkataratnam conducted the study after the Hyderabad police unearthed a child bride trafficking racket in September 2017.

Police arrested 11 Arabs , four qazis (who solemnise nikaahs) and four hotel owners on charges of trafficking minor girls from the city to Gulf countries. The chief Qazi of Hyderabad was among those arrested.

Police also identified 53 brokers — 15 from Gulf countries and 38 from Hyderabad, including 25 women — involved in the racket. So far, 13 of these brokers have been arrested.

In its recommendation, a copy of which is with HT, the national women’s panel observed that along with the Nikahnama (marriage contract) it was essential to register the marriages of Muslim girls with Arab nationals under the Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2012.

Qazis operate under the Telangana State Waqf Board, which certifies Nikahnamas.

Incidentally, the National Law Commission recommended to the Centre in 2017 that all marriages, irrespective of the religion, be registered on the lines of birth and death registrations, without affecting the personal laws of the respective religions.

Asked about the women’s panel’s recommendation, scholar and columnist Mir Ayub Ali Khan said, “There is nothing wrong in making registration of Muslim marriages compulsory as long as it does not infringe on their right to have the Nikahnama as per personal law.”

Telangana State Waqf Board chairperson Mohammad Saleem declined to comment on the women’s panel recommendations. Another recommendation of the panel is visa documents of Arab nationals coming for marriage should also be in English so that a prospective bride’s family and airport authorities know their credentials. The documents should also have details of local sponsors of those Arab nationals, the panel added.

Hyderabad deputy commissioner of police (south zone), V Satyanarayana, who supervised the child bride trafficking racket bust, agrees with this recommendation.

“We have also asked authorities to share such information with police so that we can verify their credentials and stop illegal marriages,” he said.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 23:08 IST