Hyderabad: Taking a serious note of the spurt in contract marriages, the government on Wednesday suspended Ali Abdullah Rafai alias Abid, the qazi, who had reportedly forced a minor girl to marry an Arab on Sunday night.
Rafai is notorious for arranging and facilitating marriages between aged Arab nationals and impoverished Hyderabadi girls. In numerous cases he is said to have prepared the divorce documents along with ‘nikah nama’ so as to allow the Arabs to dump their Indian wives and flee whenever they wished. Preparation of divorce papers at the time of nikah is impermissible under Shariat (Islamic law).
In the latest incident, Rafai had offered to pay to one Naseema Begum of Talabkatta Rs 4 lakh for giving her 17-year-old niece Asiya Begum in marriage to an unidentified Arab. When he learnt that Naseema Begum has developed cold feet after agreeing to his offer he sent his son Mohammed to forcibly bring Asiya Begum to his house. Asiya Begum resisted Mohammed’s attempts to take her with him. Later, Naseema Begum lodged a complaint with Bhavani Nagar police station acting over which the police raided his house and arrested him. His son is still absconding.
Rafai is said to enjoy the patronage of some politicians and police officials. When he came under cloud a few years ago, he managed to wriggle out of the cases that had been slapped against him. After getting his name cleared, he reportedly persuaded the minority welfare department to make him Sadr (chief) qazi for performing the marriages of all Arabs of Indian origin, Shafayee (a school of belief among Sunni Muslims) and general Muslims in the city. When the news of the government agreeing to Rafai’s proposal spread, many senior qazis protested against the proposed move. The government was forced to abandon its plan.
According to sources, state wakf board chairman Afazal Biyabani has called for a meeting with the qazis on Saturday with a view to find out ways to curb the contract marriage menace. He also held a meeting with the city police commissioner A K Khan on Wednesday. The two have reportedly discussed about the possibility of making the marriage performance laws more stringent. TOI