NAUSHAHRO FEROZE: A 70-year-old man and his 13-year-old bride were arrested in a raid in Zubair Panhwar village within the remit of the Tharushah police station on Saturday evening. The bride’s father, Nikah registrar and witnesses were also arrested.

Tharushah SHO Aijaz Ali said after receiving information about the marriage of an under-age girl, he along with his team raided the place where the wedding ceremony was in progress. He said the 70-year-old groom, Syed Mohammad Ali Shah, his 13-year-old bride, Sonia Shah, the Nikah registrar, Maulvi Miral Shah, the bride’s father, Syed Mehdi Shah, and witnesses Mumtaz Shah and Khuda Bukhsh Shah were arrested.

Syed Mehdi Shah told the media that he had to agree on the marriage against a sum of Rs100,000. He said he needed the money to meet the expenses of the construction of a room in his small house.

However, the old man said he had paid Rs50,000 to Mehdi Shah to enable him to arrange for dowry, etc. He said it was his third marriage and the two wives lived with him. “Mehdi Shah is my relative and no one had any objection over the third marriage,” he added.

Meanwhile, the family members and the guests invited by the elderly groom staged a protest against the police raid and arrests outside the Tharushah police station on Sunday.

They demanded release of all arrested people, claiming that Syed Mohammad Ali Shah was being subjected to torture in custody.

SP Niaz Chandio told Dawn on Sunday evening that the SHO had been transferred. He said he had ordered medical check-up of the groom to see if he was tortured.

The SP said the arrested persons would be produced before a magistrate in Bhiria City on Monday.