After a 16-year old schoolgirl in Hyderabad was forced into marrying a 65-year-old sheikh from Oman, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has requested External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to rescue the girl. The girl’s parents have registered an FIR and said that their daughter have been wed to the old sheikh without their consent. They have also said that their daughter was taken to Oman without their consent. They have alleged that their daughter was married based on consent given by one of girl’s aunt. It has also been alleged that the aunt was paid Rs 5 lakh to arrange for the marriage without informing the parents of the girl.
The parents recently got a phone call from their daughter and she said that she will die if they do not rescue her. It may be recalled that such marriages are quite common in Hyderabad. Old sheikhs from Arab countries come looking for a young bride and they often use money power to make such marriages possible. Wedding are done quickly and secretly to avoid trouble. Responding to the incident, Maneka Gandhi also said she has asked the Hyderabad Police Commissioner to investigate the case and catch the persons involved in the child marriage.