Police 'rescue' girl from Mali groom


‘Mali kalyanam’, the notoriously famous marriage between underage poor girls and over-aged grooms from Maldives has reared its head again in Kerala. Police in Poonthura, about 10 kilometres from the capital city, on Wednesday held a Maldivian national and the brother of his prospective bride in connection with an alleged illegal marriage.

 Sources said the police were intimated by local people of Muttathara that a Maldivian groom was to come to and take with him his teenaged bride whom he had married at a mosque in Punalur two days ago. As she was underage, the cops waited for the 46-year-old Abdul Rasheed. The girl, Fathima, and her mother however had no complaints.

“He gave us Rs 11,000 and has promised to give us a lakh of rupees more and two cents of land. He will take my daughter along today,’’ said Fathima’s mother Suhara. Fathima said she had no complaints against the man. Since they could not produce any document to prove Fathima’s age, the police took Rasheed into custody as soon as he turned up.
In the past, there has been several instances of teenaged girls from poor households forcibly being married off to men three times their age from Maldives. On reaching Maldives, most girls discover that they are the third or fourth wives and will be forced to undertake bonded labour. Several of these girls have returned with their children.

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