A girl from Bihar, a minor as per her school marksheet, went missing on 24 November 2022, suspected to have ‘eloped’ with her lover Faraz Ahmad. The national child commission intervened in the matter and the girl has now been recovered. She is Hindu.
A police team recovered the girl on 28 November from Hyderabad with the accused. The next morning, they were brought back to Bihar.
The girl’s father told Rashtra Jyoti he would “never marry his daughter to a Muslim”. He said that Faraz targeted his daughter as she comes from a well-to-do Marwadi family.
A First Information report dated 25 November 2022 was registered at Banmankhi police station of Purnia district in Bihar.
The victim’s father, Ramesh Kumar Aggarwal (name changed, surname retained), a resident of mill patti area which falls under ward number 9, told the police in his statement that like every other day, he returned home around 7.30 in the evening on 24 November, but found his daughter missing.
Ramesh runs a stationary shop in Purnia. In his complaint, he gave his daughter’s age as 19.
When he tried calling up her number, it was switched off.
Ramesh called up all of his relatives, neighbours and friends to inquire about his daughter but she was nowhere to be found.
Then locals told him that one Faraz Ahmad, son of Jamshed Alam, might have taken her with him.
When Ramesh and his family reached Jamshed Alam’s house and inquired about their daughter, Jamshed shared nothing. Instead, he abused them.
In the complaint, Ramesh alleged that Faraz was not alone in the ‘abduction’ of his daughter. He was accompanied by his brother Wakar and other family members.
Based on the statement, the police booked Faraz and some unidentified people under IPC sections 363 (abduction), 365 (kidnapping), 504 (provoking), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (act done by several persons).
What the police told Rashtra Jyoti
The girl’s family, in the media, has accused the Investigating Officer of this case, Meraj Hussain, of trying to cover up the issue to protect Faraz and his family.
This correspondent called Hussain on 29 November, the same day when the victim returned to Bihar.
He said the victim and Faraz were recovered from Hyderabad the previous night, and had been brought back to Bihar.
He said the girl would go through a detailed medical test and record her statement under section 164 of the CrPC on 30 November.
When asked why he delayed the registration of the FIR by a day, he said the family had alleged that their daughter was kidnapped by Faraz but there was no proof to support such an allegation. When the girl was not located in any of their relative’s houses, the police registered the complaint and began investigations.
Asked if the girl was minor as seen in her marksheet circulated by local reporters, the officer said that the police were yet to ascertain her age as the Identity Card issued by Nagar Panchayat says she is major whereas her marksheet says she is minor.
He said the police would present both the documents to the court, and it would be up to the court to decide her age. He said that after the decision of the court, which might require a bone test, further sections would be imposed accordingly.
Asked if the girl knew the accused, the officer said that they had been in a relationship since 2018, and both the families were aware of it.
Intervention of child commission
The chairman of the National Protection for Child Rights (NCPCR), Priyank Kanoongo, told Swarajya that he has issued a notice to the Superintendent of Police, Purnia, to ascertain the age of the minor victim and impose sections of the POCSO Act accordingly.
Kanoongo on 29 November through his official Twitter handle posted about the recovery of the girl.
Girl posted video with Faraz after eloping
An activist told Rashtra Jyoti that after the police teams started locating the minor, they detained Faraz’s brother Waqar. The next day, Faraz called up the police and informed that the girl was with him.
The same evening, he shared a video through his social media account. In the video that has since gone viral, the girl and Faraz can be seen saying that they have been in a relationship for the past four years. They love each other.
The girl says that when she told this to her family members, they beat her up. They were forcing her to marry someone else against her wishes.
She says her family members are creating problems for Faraz’s family, who are unaware of all this.
Then Faraz begins speaking. He says that the girl’s family, which support of local politicians, has been torturing his family and his family business is getting affected by all of this.
He says he demands protection from the government.
Watch the video here:
The girl’s father told Rashtra Jyoti over the phone that he has two children – a daughter and a son. They both are in school.
On 24 November, his daughter went missing. He says she is 17 years old.
When asked why he wrote 19 in the complaint letter, he said the Investigating Officer told him that he would go by the Nagar Panchayat ID proof which shows she is 19. “That is why I wrote 19. I did what he said,” says the father, Ramesh.
He said his daughter gave her Class 12 examinations this year.
On asking about Faraz, he said that four years ago, Faraz, who lives in the same colony as his, started following his daughter to school.
Back then his daughter resisted and informed him about it. He complained to his father Jamshed Alam. Jamshed assured him that Faraz would stop following her, and he did stop for some time.
“For us, the matter was closed then,” says Ramesh.
When his daughter went missing, the locals took the name of Faraz. It was then that he found that his daughter was still in contact with him. He says he never knew she was in touch with him.
He says, “My daughter hated him. How can she elope with him? She has been kidnapped.”
Asked about his daughter’s statement in the video viral, he says he refuses to believe her daughter was saying all that without pressure. “Many he threatened her into saying all that,” he says.
Ramesh said he indeed never knew about their relationship, but his wife did.
Ramesh said that Faraz targeted his daughter as she comes from a well-to-do Marwadi family. “He is doing this to get a share in my property. I will never marry my daughter to a Muslim,” he says.
This correspondent called up Faraz’s family as well. But as soon as I introduced myself, they called it a wrong number and hung up.
What the activists told us
Vivek Kumar Lath, a local Hindu activist, told Rashtra Jyoti that police officer Meraj Hussain had not done this for the first time when he showed a minor Hindu girl as a major, just to protect the accused. He said he does it routinely and Hindu activists have protested against him several times.
The state of Purnia is vulnerable under the rule of the AIMIM party, he said. “If not controlled at this point, Purnia will become ‘mini-Pakistan’,” he said.
Vivek says targeting of Hindu girls by Muslim men is “an everyday occurrence in Purnia”. “Many cases go unreported,” he said.
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