The police booked the accused - the tutor named Mohammad Jaseem alias Sameer - on charges of kidnapping on 22 November. The girl remains missing.
The Begusarai police are scheduled to submit an inquiry report to the national child commission on 16 December.
On 22 November, a family in Bihar’s Begusarai district gave a written complaint to Muffasil police station’s Dumri block that their minor daughter had gone missing two days previously from her coaching centre.
The complaint (see image below) said they suspected her tutor to be her kidnapper based on the information they had gathered at the centre.
The police filed a first information report (FIR) – number 612/19 – and booked the accused under IPC sections 366 (procuration of minor girl) and 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder).
Three weeks have passed since the FIR was filed but the police have not rescued the girl nor arrested the accused, Mohammad Jaseem alias Sameer, yet.
On 2 December, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) took note of the Swarajya report and wrote to the Police Commissioner of Begusarai, directing him to take action in the case and submit an inquiry report on 10 December.
An official from the commission told this correspondent that on the due date, the Begusarai police chief asked for more time. The commission rescheduled the submission to 16 December.
Meanwhile, three days ago, the accused sent a series of messages to the girl’s family on WhatsApp. The messages contained images of the girl’s religious conversion and nikah papers (see images below) as well as a few, short, mobile-shot videos of her.
The girl‘s family is Hindu and belongs to a backward caste.
In the videos, the girl is seen telling the family that it was she who forced the accused to run away with her and her family should now mind their own business. She says she is 20 years old and free to take decisions on her marriage and life.
The girl’s uncle told this correspondent that the accused had sent the messages from one of the two mobile numbers that the family had mentioned in their police complaint.
In one of the videos, the girl is seen saying (as translated), “I married him a year ago. My family knows it. But they did not agree to it. So I told him to take me somewhere. When I forced him, he brought me here. His family has made no mistake. Nobody has forced me to do anything. I have married on my own will. I want to live happily with him.”
In another video, she is saying, “Main inko bhaga ke layi hun. Main zor zabardasti kiya hun. Kya karoge? (I made him elope. I forced him to do this. What will you do?).”
“Mujhe dhoondne ki kohish mat karo. Tum log apna apna kaam karo. Zyada dimaag mat lagao (don’t try to look for me. Do your own work. Try not to overthink,” she says.
In one of the videos, she says her tutor was unwilling to elope but she forced him to, telling him that she would handle everything. “…kya kami hai ladke mein? Ye kya Hindu Muslim laga rakha hai (What does the boy lack? Why are you doing this Hindu-Muslim thing),” she says.
The conversion certificate, issued by one Madina mosque in Vijaynagar area of Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district, is dated 25 August 2018. It says she has “renounced his/her present religion and has embraced Muslim religion without any force, pressure, inducement or influence”. Her new name is mentioned as Najma Khatoon.
The certificate does not mention her age.
The girl’s family shared her Aadhaar card (see image below) with this correspondent that gives her date of birth as 27 February 2002, which makes her 17 years of age at present and 16 at the time of alleged conversion. They say she is studying in Class 11.
The nikahnama, dated 27 August 2018, and issued by the same mosque, mentions her date of birth as 27 February, 2000. The accused’s age is mentioned as 26 years. The nikahnama gives the accused’s address as village Mirzapur in Ghaziabad’s Vijaynagar area.
Another document shared by the accused is a hand-written letter by the girl to Muffasil police, saying that she is around 20 years old and has married Jaseem willingly. It says the police should not entertain any complaint filed by her family. The letter is dated 25 November 2019.
The girl’s father told this correspondent that he works at a construction site in Chennai and his wife and daughter live with the latter’s maternal uncle in Begusarai. He said he had no inkling of what was brewing in his daughter’s life. “The boy has brainwashed her. Her videos suggest she is reading a scripted answer,” he said.
“The boy is bent on ruining our family,” he said.
He said the family has shared the messages with the police.
When contacted over the phone, Manish Singh, station house officer (SHO) of Mufffasil police station’s Dumri block, said the probe was on. When asked about the messages, he disconnected the call, citing work. He did not take further calls made to him.
It is pertinent to mention that after the girl went missing, her uncle confronted Jaseem’s family. As per the uncle, the latter produced a heap of papers, telling 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 (see image below).
A local activist who is helping the family with the case told this correspondent that the certificate issued by the Ghaziabad mosque seems to be recently prepared using a false date. “How can she marry him in Lakhminia and in the Ghaziabad mosque on the same day?” he said.
The girl’s father said the police are simply dragging their feet on the case, making no efforts to rescue the minor girl.