Faking a marriage

In the last three years, the police have unearthed a series of gangs that would ‘solemnise’ marriages with already married women. The ‘brides’ would disappear within days of the ceremony with jewellery, cash and whatever else they could lay their hands on, R S Gull reports

It will haunt him for the rest of his life. Prospective groom Ghulam Rasool Sheikh was shown a young beautiful girl by a “middleman” and the marriage was arranged. As Sheikh went to get his bride with a baraat (wedding party), he was served the traditional feast. Somehow his relatives detected that the woman in the trousseau was much aged, may be doubled the age of the girl who was initially shown as the to-be-bride. The suspicion forced the marriage party to leave and a phone call to police unearthed a scam.

Investigations led police to a gang of conmen and women. Deputy Superintendent of Police Tahir Saleem told reporters that they arrested three persons who had arranged a marriage of a youth belonging to the Manchama village in Tral with a 25-year-old girl. The gang had taken cash and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh from the groom’s family.

After six months of engagement with the girl, Sheikh came with a baraat of five persons to Saidpora village in Srinagar city’s outskirts. After the feasts, they detected the bride was changed. She even had a ‘new’ name. As fingers were raised, the family decided against sending the “bride” with the groom. Sheikh’s left the place fuming and informed the police.

Police found a young man was conned in a similar fake marriage at the same village in the same month. They rounded up the fake bride and two thugs who had solemnized the “fake marriage”. The woman getting married was identified as Haleema wife of Ghulam Mohammad of Tangmarg, Baramulla who is a mother of four. The two thugs arrested are Mohammad Jamal Wani of Narwa, Baramulla and Ghulam Mohammad Ganai of Ganderbal. The gang was operating from a rented a house in Saidpora.

This is not for the first time that police busted such a gang. In May 2010, police busted a major fake marriages cartel and arrested 11 persons including six women.

Run by its kingpin Mohammed Ismail Hajam of Panzinara in north Kashmir, they would arrange marriages and send the “brides” to their “in-laws” and within seven days the “bride” would disappear with whatever she could carry. The gang would operate from in rented houses far away from their residences with fake identities pretending to be each other’s brothers, sisters or uncle and nieces. Usually they would target the moneyed people, who for some reason could not get married.

Police said the gang would keep the “marriage” a low key affair. They would concoct stories for not involving relatives in marriage and would prefer “solemnising” the “marriage” in some hotel.

A senior police officer who investigated the case said that the gang would insist on a fat mehr (dower) that usually is paid at the time of the marriage.

“The bride would stay with groom at his house for seven to 21 days and then a woman posing to be the bride’s aunt or a man posing as bride’s uncle would come to see the bride seek permission to take the bride home for a few days,” the officer said. “Then the bride would disappear along with the “aunt” with all the money, jewellery and other valuables.” By then the groom has no address of his bride because the gang shifts their base.

Tragically, one of these cheats had “married-off” his own wife thrice by posing as her brother and all the three times, the duo ran away with a big loot. In all the cases, she went to the “grooms” house and stayed with the family till she could lay her hands on whatever they had.

The case that the Police Station Sumbal investigated had a long list of thugs. They were from different places – Maqbool Sheikh and his wife Fatima (Durbal Shariefabad). Ghulam Nabi Bhat (Check-i-Ganastan), Salam Shah (Takiya Gonipora Kunzar), Majeed Ganie (Gunj Lalpora Beeru), Rukhsana Bano (Rakhi Shilvat Unkholo Sumbal), Haleema Begum (Gund Lalpora Beeru) Posha Begum (Mujigund), Haleema Begum (Iqbal Colony Pattan) and Sara Bagum (Panzinara).

In April 2009, Sadder Police Station in Srinagar received a complaint from Bashir Ahmad Langoo of Rainawari saying he has married an impostor. He said a woman, Sitara Begum posed as his “wife’s” mother before and during the “Nikah” ceremony who later fled with every valuable that was within her reach.

During investigations, police stumbled on a gang that had fake marriage as its business. It comprised of Nisar Ahmed Jat of Abahama Pakherpora, Shakeela wife of Reyaz Ahmed Najar of Angmatipora Mattan and Abdul Majid Ganie of Beerwa Ganjlalpora.

Roles were set. Nisar, the kingpin, would approach the prospective groom’s family as a middleman introducing Shakeela as bride, Sitara Begum as her mother, Ghulam Nabi Ganai as her brother, Majid Ganie as bride’s brother-in-law and Ganie’s wife, Haleema used to pose as the bride’s sister. Unearthing of this gang helped police crack many cases of fake marriages.

Though males are a routine target, it can happen to females as well. In Rajouri, one such marriage became a major issue. Reported in September last, one Razia Begum, daughter of Mohammad Din of Atal village whose marriage was arranged with Abdul Gani of Mangota, Thanamandi, 10 years back. She said after her Nikah, she was surprised to find that she had been deceitfully married to Gani’s father Khadim Hussain. Confused, she could not understand why Gani left the house and it took her 10 years to raise her voice against the “slavery”. Nobody knows if she could manage an escape from the wedlock that was forced on her. Her father was a handicapped person.


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