‘Minor’ girl’s father goes to court against her ‘forced conversion and marriage’

law-7591Four weeks after a girl from a Southeast Delhi area went “missing”, her father has moved a Delhi court alleging that the girl is “a minor and was forcibly converted” to Islam and married to a Muslim youth.
In his plea before Metropolitan Magistrate Navjeet Budhiraja, the girl’s father has claimed that his daughter’s nikahnama and mehar certificate — the money paid by the groom specified in the Islamic marriage — and the conversion certificate issued by an Imam are allegedly based on a false date of birth.
It began as a kidnapping case, registered with Delhi Police on May 8, after the girl went missing from her school in a Southeast Delhi area. She returned a month later apparently having married the Muslim man. The father has moved court asking for an investigation into what he calls an illegal marriage. However, the court has sent the girl, who returned on May 23, to Nirmal Chaya, a short-stay shelter run by the department of social welfare after her statement to the court contradicted her father’s. She told the court that all her actions were voluntary.
In his plea, her father said, “I suspected that a Muslim boy, a neighbour, kidnapped my daughter. The police then conducted a raid and certain documents relating to the change of my daughter’s religion and her marriage came to my notice. I was shocked that she was forced to marry, despite being a minor.”
According to him, the Muslim boy’s family put pressure on her. “She has made a false statement against us because she has been under duress. She has told us the real story of how she was coerced into getting married to him.”
After her first statement, the parents again moved the Delhi court on Saturday, stating that the police further investigate the Muslim boy and his parents and again record the girl’s statement.
Arguing before magistrate Budhiraja, counsel for the parents, Rahul Raj Malik, said: “We have the documents of the religious conversion issued by the Imam, which falsely states that she was born in 1997. The date has been chosen in a way that shows that she had just attained the age of 18 when she converted. Also, based on this false document, a marriage certificate has been issued. She is still a minor and she cannot take any independent decisions, whether on the question of marriage or conversion… The police need to investigate the matter and take appropriate action against them.”
To corroborate the argument, the counsel produced the girl’s school identity card and her mark sheets. After hearing the submissions, the court summoned the principal of the school to ascertain the claim of the parents on the issue of age. “Right now I cannot give directions to the police to investigate further on your allegation. Let me ascertain the age,” the court said. The court will now take up the matter on June 19.

Source: The Indian Express