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A 70-year-old Omani national was arrested here for undertaking a contract marriage with a minor girl, police said on Monday. Police rescued the 17-year-old girl and also arrested the qazi who performed the marriage, a travel agent, a broker and two mediators.
Police have also invoked the ‘Nirbhaya’ Act besides Prohibition of Child Marriage Act against the Omani national. Deputy Commissioner of Police (south zone) V. Satyanarayana said a case was booked at Kanchanbagh police station in the old city.
The Omani national has been identified as Senaidi Khamis Mohammed Khamis, who entered into a contract marriage with the minor girl at the office-cum-residence of the travel agent in Barkas. The travel agent, marriage broker and two mediators had convinced the girl’s mother, a widow, to perform the marriage saying this will solve their financial problems. They, however, concealed the fact that the Omani national was marrying the girl for couple of weeks for Rs.1 lakh.
Police rescued the victim after she informed one of her cousins that she was being married to a foreign national against her wish. Police said qazi Syed Zulfeqar Ali was arrested for performing the illegal marriage. It said despite warnings, some qazis were performing contract marriages by bending Shariat rules for monetary gains.
In 2004, the Wakf Board had noticed the exploitation of poor Muslim girls and had directed qazis not to straightway perform marriages involving foreign nationals especially those from the Gulf countries. The qazis were asked to alert the Wakf Board when they are approached to perform such marriages.
“contract marriages” are illegal in India and forbidden in Islam, they are increasing in Hyderabad, in southern India, where wealthy foreigners, local agents and ‘Qazis’ – government-appointed Muslim priests – are exploiting poverty among the city’s Muslim families.