A Month After Her Conversion-Nikah Came To Light, Minor Girl From Begusarai Rescued By Police; Tutor Arrested For Kidnapping

by Swati Goel Sharma - Dec 26, 2019 07:39 PM +05:30 IST
A Month After Her Conversion-Nikah Came To Light, Minor Girl From Begusarai Rescued By Police; Tutor Arrested For KidnappingThe conversion certificate. 
Snapshot
  • On 20 December, the child commission had sought a day-to-day progress report from the investigating officer to be submitted on December 26

A minor girl from Bihar’s Begusarai district, who had been missing for over a month, was finally rescued on 24 December - just four days after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) ordered the police to submit a day-to-day progress report in the case.

The child commission took up the case in the first week of December after taking note of a Swarajya report.

The commission directed the police to take action and submit an inquiry report. However, the police missed the deadline thrice - on 10 December, 16 December and 20 December. After the police’s repeated failure, the commission directed the investigating officer to submit a day-to-day progress report on 26 December.

Awakash Kumar, Begusarai superintendent of police, told this correspondent over the phone that the girl was recovered from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district.

“A police team was sent to Ghaziabad. The accused has been arrested. I cannot comment more on the case until the girl has given her statement to the magistrate and her medical tests are done,” Kumar said.

A first information report (FIR) in the case was registered at Muffasil Police Station’s Dumri block on 22 November (FIR number 612/19) under IPC sections 366 (procuration of minor girl) and 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder).

Mohammad Jaseem alias Sameer was named as accused based on the statement of the girl’s mother.

The girl’s uncle told this correspondent that the family is relieved. “She [the girl] is still in police custody. We have not been able to talk to her much,” he said.

About two weeks ago, accused Jaseem sent a series of WhatsApp messages to the girl’s family. The messages contained images of the girl’s religious conversion and nikah papers (see image below), and a few, short, mobile-shot videos of her.

A Month After Her Conversion-Nikah Came To Light, Minor Girl From Begusarai Rescued By Police; Tutor Arrested For Kidnapping

The documents were prepared by a mosque in Ghaziabad and showed the dates of religious conversion and nikah as 25 August and 27 August, 2018, respectively. In the videos, the girl was seen telling the family that it was she who forced the accused to run away with her and now her family should mind their own business.

She was also seen saying she was 20 years old and free to take decisions on her marriage and life.

The girl's family is Hindu and belongs to a backward caste.

Commenting on the Whatsapp messages, chairman of NCPCR Priyank Kanoongo had told this correspondent, “This is a grave violation of child-related laws. The commission is taking a strict view of it. Conversion when the child is still a minor is considered to be forced.”

It is pertinent to mention that after the girl went missing and her uncle confronted Jaseem’s family, the latter produced a heap of papers and told him that Jaseem had married the girl and would return in some time.

The papers included a notarised affidavit by the girl from last year that she is 19 years old, has embraced Islam as per her free will, changed her name to Najma Khatoon and performed nikah with Mohammad Jaseem in a mosque in Bihar’s Lakhminia on 27 August 2018 - the same date as on the papers prepared in the Ghaziabad mosque.

After the girl was rescued, Priyank Kanoongo appreciated the efforts of this correspondent through a message on Twitter.

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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