Hyderabad, April 19 :
A 61-year-old Omani national was Saturday arrested for allegedly marrying two minor girls in the old city of Hyderabad within a week by paying money to their poor families, police said.
Police busted the racket by arresting 11 others including two ‘Qazi’ (priests) who performed the illegal marriages and brokers including four women.
Al-Madasari Rashed Masaaod Rashid, who had come to India on a tourist visa, married a 14-year-old girl and after she escaped from his clutches, married another minor and sexually assaulted her, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) S. Tripathi.
The foreigner, who was staying at a flat in the posh Banjara Hills neighborhood, married a 14-year-old girl on April 9 by paying Rs.60,000 to her mother. However, the victim, a resident of Talabkutta in the old city, escaped from his clutches.
Rashid, who is a landlord, then had a “contract marriage” with another minor from the old city with the help of brokers. He paid Rs.80,000 to mother of the 15-year-old, a resident of Shivarampally. Police said he committed sexual assault on the girl from April 15 to April 18.
The marriages with the minor girls came to light when the first victim along with her maternal uncle lodged a complaint with Bhavaninagar police station.
Police arrested 11 other accused including mothers of both the victims, the stepfather of one of the victims, the two Qazis, a broker acting for Rashid, and five agents including four women, who acted as brokers on behalf of the parents of the victims.
The arrested ‘Qazis’ have been identified as Mohammed Zahid Ali Hyder and Mohammed Ghouse Mohiuddin.
Police seized three mobile phones, Rashid’s Omani passport and cash including Rs.5,000, $2,725 and 120 riyals.
Many cases of aged Arab nationals marrying young girls from poor families in the old city have come to light during the last few years. In 2012, police had busted a racket involving a ‘qazi’ who had performed marriages of foreigners with girls from poverty-stricken families.
According to police, these foreigners use local brokers and even ‘qazis’ to entice the parents of the girls with money.