Cracking the whip on the "sale" of minor girls from old city of Hyderabad to Arab Shaikhs in the guise of marriages, the police arrested 20 persons - including five Omanis and three Qataris - here on Wednesday.While the eight foreigners arrested were presented before the court and remanded in judicial custody, the antecedents of eight more Omanis, who allegedly had come to Hyderabad to marry minors, were being verified.
Those arrested include the chief qazi of Mumbai, Farid Ahmed Khan. The Qazi, who solemnized the wedding was also arrested.
The police focused more on the Old City child marriages racket after the recent instance of a fake Omani Shaikh marrying a minor girl, who later begged her parents to rescue her from his clutches.
The police commissioner said the police rescued 12 girls.
Police said the arrests were made when the sheikhs aged between 50 and 60 were about to marry girls aged between 15 and 17 years at some lodges in the old city of Hyderabad.
With the busting of the contract marriage (short-term marriage) racket, the police have foiled attempts by eight sheikhs from Oman and Qatar to marry local girls, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone) V Satyanarayana said today.
Those arrested have been identified as Oman nationals Al Mayah Ali Issa, Al Salehi Talib Humeid Ali, Al Ubaidani Juma Shinoon Sulaiman, Al Salehi Nasser Khalif Hamed, Al Qasimi Hassan Mazaaul Mohammed, and Qatar citizens Omer Mohammed Seraj Abdal Rahman, Hamad Jabir o Al-Kuwari and Safeldin Mohammed Salih. From one of these hotels, a sheikh, who was ready to marry a 15-year-old girl, was caught. "We are also trying to bring the accused Shaikh Al Ahmed Abdullah Amur Al Rahbi to India for prosecution", the Hyderabad police commissioner M Mahender Reddy said.
"He prepared a forged nikahnama (marriage contract) to show the marriage was performed in Mumbai and provided a forged marriage certificate with the stamping of the Omani embassy", he said. The modus operandi of the racket was to target poor families with minor girls and lure the families with a promise of better life in the Arab countries for their daughters. "After reaching the new country the women end up getting exploited at the hands of several others", police chief said while citing the statements of a few victims.
Briefing the media on Wednesday, Reddy said numerous brokers from Gulf married local girls to penetrate deep into the local community.