Hyderabad Police has busted a major ‘sheikh’ marriage racket involving men from Arab nations  marrying minor girls in Hyderabad and later pushing them into human trafficking. 20 people, including five Omani nationals, three Qatar nationals and 13 Indians have been taken into custody.

The arrest comes after police received a tip-off from one of the victims who was interviewed by a sheikh before the marriage. 

The accused have been identified as Al Mayahi Habib Ali Issa, Al Salhi Talib Humeid Ali, Al Ubaidani Juma Shinoon Sulaima, Al Salehi Nasser Khalifa Hamed and Al Qasimi Hassan Mazaaul Mohamed from Oman, Omer Mohammed Seraj Abdal Rahman, Hamad Jabir O Al-Kuwari and Safeldin Mohamed Mohamednour Salih from Qatar along  with Indians which include Qazis, brokers and lodge owners, reports The Times of India.

What is the racket?

Arab nationals come to Hyderabad to seek minor girls for marriage. They get in touch with brokers who take care of their every need. The brokers charge anywhere between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh in which their food, lodging and the solemnisation of marriage is taken car of. The brokers also arrange for Qazis who perform the nikaah rituals. 

How do the brokers work?

The brokers minor target girls from poor families who are promised that after marriage they can lead a luxurious life in Gulf nations. They also arrange visas, fake documents like birth certificate etc. and passport for the girl, reports News18.  

In many cases, the girls who are taken abroad after marriage end up getting exploited by several others.

How police unearthed the racket?

Hyderabad police officials kept a close watch on sheikhs who came to the city in the recent days. They followed the men to various lodges and guesthouses they visited. When they found that several brokers including women had brought the girls for ‘interviews”. After gathering enough evidence, cops began the raids on Tuesday night.

One such raid was carried out at a private guesthouse in Chandrayangutta area, where a 15-year-old girl was rescued from getting married to a 70-year-old Omani Al Mayahi Ali Issa. In another case, an 80-year-old blind Sheikh M Abdullah was arrested. He had come for a contract marriage and would have left the bride and returned to Muscat, reports Indian Express. 

When was the first such incident reported?

In August, a family in Hyderabad approached police after their 16 year old daughter was  fraudulently married off to Ahmed, a 65-year-old Omani national. The teen’s mother complained that her sister-in-law hatched the plan for which she was paid Rs 5 lakh from the Sheikh, reports India Today.

Following the report, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi took notice of the matter and wrote to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj requesting her intervention.

(Feature image source: Twitter| Dish Dash)