The Hyderabad city police have arrested 20 people – including five Omani nationals, three Qatar nationals and three Qazis (Islamic clergymen) – accused of preparing forged Nikahnama (marriage certificates) and managing an international human trafficking ring.
As reported by The Times Of India, the investigation was related to the recent spate of child marriages in the old city area of Hyderabad. This incident was the result of a tip-off from a 16-year-old girl, who had been “interviewed” by a 50-year-old sheikh for marriage. This led to a major crackdown into the “sheikh marriage” scam in the city.
12 minors were freed from the clutches of sheikhs from the city on Tuesday, 19 September. An Omani sheikh was caught red-handed before he married a teenage girl on the same night.
The accused were identified as Al Mayahi Habib Ali Issa, Al Salhi Talib Humeid Ali, Al Ubaidani Juma Shinoon Sulaiman, Al Salehi Nasser Khalifa Hamed and Al Qasimi Hassan Mazaaul Mohamed, Omer Mohammed Seraj Abdal Rahman, Hamad Jabir O Al-Kuwari and Safeldin Mohamed Mohamednour Salih.
Five local middlemen and four hotel owners have also been arrested in the case.
Police have claimed that a 63-year-old Mumbai-based Qazi was the kingpin and played a vital role in the international human trafficking racket. They said that he would charge Rs 70,000 for providing fake Nikahnamas and other certificates to brokers.
On interrogation, the Qazi confessed to having provided fake marriage certificates to his clients from all over the country.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), South Zone, V Satyanarayana was quoted by The Times Of India as saying “Usually after the marriage, the couple need to seek permission from the state minority department, where the marriage was performed, to get a No Objection certificate (NOC) so that the women can get their Visa easily. However, in this case, we found that the certificate was issued in Mumbai.”
He said that while investigating the case of a 16-year-old child bride, as mentioned earlier in this article, who was married to a 65-year-old sheikh, the entire racket was exposed.
Two days ago, Hyderabad police sent a special team, comprising an inspector and a sub-inspector along with two police constables, to Mumbai, where they found the Qazi’s office at Bhendi Bazaar. With the help of their Mumbai counterparts, the Hyderabad Police raided the office of the Qazi and found that he not only provided fake marriage certificates but also had several rubber stamps to forge the documents required to go to the Gulf countries.
The Qazi’s family, meanwhile, has refuted the allegations. His son said, “He is a certified Qazi since 1975. My father translates the Nikahnama and certifies the marriage documents when people come to us.”
The Logical Indian community strongly condemns child marriage and human trafficking. Such incidents are gross human rights violations and should be condemned, exposed and punished until society is finally, hopefully, rid of these evils.