HYDERABAD: A local magistrate on Thursday handed over custody of a Hindu girl, who had converted to Islam and married of her own free will, to in-charge of safe house and ordered the girl’s medical examination to ascertain her age after her mother claimed she was underage.

The girl, Ms Chanda alias Iqra who was produced in the court of civil judge and judicial magistrate-VI after she was reportedly recovered from Karachi insisted she was 19 years of age.

According to Senior Superintendent of Police Amjad Ahmed Shaikh, SITE police found Ms Chanda in Gulshan-i-Hadeed, Karachi, on Wednesday as her mother had lodged and FIR that one Shaman Magsi had kidnapped her daughter.

SITE police produced her in the court the same day but the judicial magistrate had directed to produce her again on Thursday to get the girl’s statement recorded under section 164 Cr.PC.

According to the judge’s order, the girl said that she was 19 years of age and had converted to Islam. She had married Shaman Ali Magsi of her own free will, she said.

The girl’s mother, Ms Amri, who was complainant in the FIR, told the court through her counsels, Bhagwan Das Bheel and Rehana Gujjar, that Chanda was underage and could not enter into nikah of her own free will.

The court noted in the order that no relevant record had been produced by the complainant to substantiate the girl’s claim about her age. The investigating officer of the case submitted to the court sanad-i-Islam, nikah nama, iqrar nama and her free will which revealed that she had converted to Islam and married Shaman Ali Magsi. However, the IO did not produce any record on the girl’s age.

The court, therefore, ordered medical examination in order to ascertain the girl’s age and handed over her custody to the safe house under supervision of the in-charge Ms Resham Thebo.

Ms Amri had claimed in the FIR that Chanda was kidnapped by Magsi on Aug 12 when she was returning home near Nara prison along with her sister.

According to her mother, Chanda and her sister used work in a factory near Fateh Chowk. Police lodged the FIR on Sept 17 only after she obtained an order from the court.

The SSP had claimed that parents knew that the girl had converted to Islam. The couple had filed a constitutional petition against Hyderabad police for harassing them because the girl had married of her own free will, he said.

He said that the girl had been recovered but her husband was not found.

Ms Chanda’s family members had also staged a demonstration on Oct 16 to seek her recovery.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2022

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