Badin court orders Hindu woman be returned to parents' custody after alleged ‘forced marriage, torture’
A Hindu woman, who was allegedly forced to marry a man who forged documents to show her as Muslim, was given into her parents' custody in Badin on Monday on the directions of a local court after her video seeking justice made the rounds on social media.
A video of the woman, identified as Reena Meghwar, went viral on social media a couple of days ago in which she can be heard saying “please send me to my parents, I was forcibly taken away. I have been warned of dire consequences with a threat that my parents and brothers will be killed.” However, she stopped short of naming anyone who was making the threats in the video.
The provincial government took notice of the video and ordered the police to investigate the matter. Subsequently, the police took the woman into custody and produced her before a local court in Badin, where she told the judge that she was subjected to "undesirable attitude" by the accused and also said her brother’s life was in danger.
She also submitted that she had not converted to Islam and false documents were prepared by her purported husband.
After recording Meghwar's statement, the court ordered police to register a case against the accused. She was then handed over to her parents in the presence of law enforcement personnel.
The court also noted that SHO Kario Ganwhar had produced Meghwar before the court, but pretended as if nothing had happened to her, despite the fact she was tortured by her in-laws.
Conflicting statements under duress
Earlier, Badin SSP Shabeer Ahmed Sethar told Dawn that the police had provided security to Meghwar at her parents' residence. He told the court that she was allegedly kidnapped by the suspect, identified as Qasim Khaskheli, who later reportedly forced her to marry him.
The officer narrated the background of the case, saying Meghwar had left her home in Kario Ghanwar area of Badin in February this year and reportedly married Qasim Khaskheli and changed her name to Mariam.
He said the woman’s parents later approached the Sindh High Court against their daughter’s alleged forced conversion and marriage, which led to the registration of a first information report against the accused. However, Meghwar had turned up before the SHC and claimed she had willingly married Khaskheli, leading to quashing of the FIR against her purported husband.
The officer continued that her video later surfaced on social media in April, prompting her parents to again approach the court. The woman, when approached by the investigators, reportedly stated that she wanted to stay with her husband.
However, the latest video galvanised police into action and during the probe, the woman admitted she was tortured and desired to go back to her parents, the officer added.