Kot Samaba police on Saturday prevented the forced marriage of a girl on the directive of a panchayat and arrested 11 men including the aspiring groom, the nikahkhwah and the panchayat leader.
The police had yet to register an FIR despite an application filed for the purpose by Muhammad Hussain, father of Shazia*, 18.
SHO Safdar Sindhu told The Express Tribune that senior officials had stopped him from filing an FIR until the investigation was completed in the case. He said the suspects including panchayat leader Mehboob Ali, Qazi Abdul Majeed and the groom Aashiq Hussain Bahula would remain in custody for interrogation.
Hussain, however, said the police were reluctant to conduct a proper investigation because the suspects had ties with influential people. He said he had no hope about the police redressing his grievance.
“I appeal to the chief minister to provide justice to my daughter. She should not be punished for someone else’s sin,” he said. Also, he said, he had not agreed to marrying his daughter to Bahula during the panchayat held a month ago. He said he had told the panchayat that he was disinheriting his son and would have nothing to do with him in future.
He alleged that the panchayat men had detained him and his family at his house for the last four days by placing two men at the main gate.
On Friday, he added, they returned with more people and the nikahkhwan to solemise the marriage.
Bahula told The Tribune that the detention was meant to ensure that Hussain could not escape the village to avoid marrying his daughter to him.
Talking to The Express Tribune, panchayat leader Ali said the marriage was arranged in accordance with the understanding reached between the panchayat and Hussain, a resident of Basti Bahisti, over a month ago. “We had clarified that he would have to marry his daughter to Bahula if he failed to return his wife (who had allegedly eloped with Shazia’s brother) to him in a month,” he said.
Hussain’s son and Bahula’s wife had eloped over a month ago. The woman had left two elder children at home and took a six-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy with her.
*Victim’s name has been changed
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012.
More in PunjabJay walking: Pedestrians ignore Rs332m worth of bridges