Most of the Arab sheikhs who come to Hyderabad to marry young Muslim girls are found to be in possession of fake medical certificates. At least seven out of eight sheikhs, who were arrested on Tuesday, were found to be possessing doctor certificates stating that they were fit to marry, even when they were suffering from severe health issues.
Taking a cue from the Centre, Hyderabad police have launched a crackdown on Arab sheikhs and their local brokers since last fortnight. After receiving a plethora of complaints from parents of Muslim girls who were trapped in marriages with Arabs in the Gulf, the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of External Affairs had conveyed their concerns to the police in the city.
Even the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has voiced concern over the fact that the Old city of Hyderabad had virtually become a bride hunting ground for aged Arabs for the past several decades. The Hyderabad police had separately arrested four persons, including two Arabs, last week. This week, a police party led by Falaknuma ACP Mohammad Tajuddin Ahmed conducted raids on four popular hangouts of Arab sheikhs and arrested eight sheikhs and nine brokers, the largest number of arrests so far. The hangouts are FK Plaza hotel, Hotel Ghalib Residency, MJ Anas hotel and Hotel WinCity.
The arrested Arabs are: Al Mayali Ali Issa, Al Salehi Talib Hummeid Ali, Al Ubaidnani Juma Sulaiman, Al Salehi Nasser Khan and Al Qasimi Mazzaul (all from Oman) and Omer Mohmmad, Hamed Jubile and Safeleddin Salih (all from Qatar). A local qazi and eight marriage brokers, who were into this business since the 1980s, were taken into custody.
V. Satyanarayana, DCP (South Zone, that covers Muslim dominated Old City of Hyderabad) told The Sunday Guardian that the cops had decided to act firmly with the “marriage racket” by Arabs. “This is not a marriage related problem; it’s an illegal trafficking issue. Most of the Arabs who come here are in the age group of 65-85 years,” the DCP said.
Most of the Arabs come here with two sets of certificates, one reflecting their health problems so that they can visit Hyderabad for treatment and another certificate stating that they were normal and fit to get married, meant for the parents of brides. Mohammed Abdullah, 81, from Oman who was arrested last week was a heart patient with a pacemaker, but still he possessed a fitness certificate.
These certificates are issued by doctors from different places. Some were issued in Delhi when the visiting sheikhs land in the country, while others were issued in Mumbai and Hyderabad. The police had noticed that some middlemen are arranging these certificates, even without the actual sheikhs seeing the doctors.
One qazi, Fazil Ahmed Khan, who performed around 15 nikahs of Arabs in the past few months, is one of the established brokers for these illegal marriages. The Hyderabad unit of Wakf Board had issued guidelines to qazis asking them not to perform nikhas if the age gap between the girl and the groom is huge and if the grooms are from the Gulf . Still the guidelines were not followed.