PESHAWAR: A local court has rejected the bail plea of a man accused of kidnapping a minor Hindu girl for marriage a few days ago.

However, additional district and sessions judge Abdul Majid granted bail to seven others named in the case as facilitators of the main accused.

An FIR was registered by the East Cantonment police station here on Dec 20 after a Hindu woman, Shakuntla Bibi, formally complained that the prime accused, Ubaid, and others had kidnapped her adopted daughter aged around 15.

The case was registered under the Pakistan Penal Code’s Section 365-B (kidnapping a woman for forced marriage). The police later recovered the girl from Rawalpindi and arrested eight accused.

The complainant had adopted the girl and her brother in 2006 when they were infants.

The prime accused had claimed that the girl had gone with him of her own free will and that he intended to marry her to convert her to Islam.

The girl had also declared in her statement that she wasn’t kidnapped and left home of her own free will.

Shah Faisal Nasapa, lawyer for the complainant, said the girl was a minor child, so her kidnapping for the purpose of marriage was a heinous offence.

He said the girl was aged below 16, so she couldn’t marry under the Child Marriage Restraint Act.

The lawyer insisted that the girl’s statement came under duress as she was under the influence of the accused. He said forcing a minor into marriage was a crime.

The counsel said the accused were named in the FIR, while the minor girl was recovered from their custody.

He said the complainant had adopted the girl and her brother and had been taking care of them for 15 years.

The lawyer for the accused contended that his clients were implicated in a fake case as the girl had never been abducted.

He added that the complainant had adopted the girl and her brother and had been bringing them up as members of the Hindu community.

The counsel contended that his clients were entitled to the concession of bail as they didn’t force the girl to leave her home.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2021

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