Patna, Jan 8 (IANS) Marriages are said to be made in heaven but in some pockets of Bihar tying the knot in the shadow of the gun is not unusual. ‘Abduction for marriage’ in districts such as Jamui, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Jahanabad, Patna, Nawada and Vaishali takes place frequently despite it having serious consequences later on.
One such incident was reported on Thursday when five unidentified men abducted Subham Kumar, a
20-year-old youth from Gangasarai village under Barharia police station in Lakhisarai district while he was taking a morning walk with two friends. The kidnappers forced him to marry a girl in Jamui district.
Subham was recently selected for a clerical job in the Army and the bride’s family knew about it. They then hired a gang to execute the kidnapping.
Another similar incident took place on March 24, 2020, when a pharmacy student Amit Kumar was kidnapped from Jandaha in Vaishali district and was taken to Samastipur for marriage with a minor girl. Kumar was in tears at being forced into marriage while the girl was also weeping as her father was getting her married against her wishes.
In June 2019, three youths belonging to Paharpur in Gaya district went to Nawada’s famous Kakolat waterfall, where they were allegedly kidnapped by six men at gunpoint. They forced one of the youth Nityanand Kumar Rai to tie the knot with a minor girl, who was a Class 10 student.
All three youth were beaten by the bride’s family before forcing Rai to marry. They released his friends with a stern warning and held Rai captive in their house.
Later, the minor girl claimed before the Duty Magistrate that she knew Rai since he visited her village to attend a marriage function.
Kidnapping for marriage has a long history in Bihar. As per data available with IANS, 2,695 cases were reported in 2020 and only seven cases turned out to be fake. The highest number of such cases took place in September 2020 when Bihar police registered 349 cases in all 43 police districts. There were 336 cases in March 2020, 325 cases in October, 305 in June, 304 in February, 301 in July, 286 in August, 270 in January, 138 in May and 81 in April 2020. The Bihar police did not register any cases in November and December 2020.
A senior Bihar police official said the ‘kidnapping for marriage’ number in 2020 is lower compared to 2019 and 2018 probably due to the lockdown and pandemic.
In 2019, Bihar police registered 4,498 kidnapping for marriage cases and only 10 of them were false. A maximum of 480 cases were reported in May 2019, 454 in March and 443 in June.
There were 4,317 cases under similar charges registered in 2018 where May saw the highest number of cases with 480, followed by 465 in June and 428 in July.
These kidnappings generally take place during the marriage seasons. The abduction of Subham was probably done in desperation in a non-marriage season (Kharwas).
The Lakhisarai district Superintendent of Police ) told IANS, “The girl knew Subham from before. After his selection in the Army, her family became worried that he may refuse to marry the girl. Hence, they opted for “Pakaduah Vivah” (Kidnapping for Marriage).”
The police officer said such an act has severe consequences. The chances of the girl being abandoned after such a marriage are always high. But the girls’ families do not bother about spoiling her life.
Amitabh Kumar Das, a Bihar cadre retired IPS officer, said, “The dowry in specific castes is quite high and it is not possible for every girl’s father to afford it. Hence, persons who belong to middle or lower income groups opt for forced marriages.”
“Despite it being a crime, basically it is a trend seen in districts such as Lakhisarai, Jamui, Patna and other areas of western Bihar to select eligible grooms for their daughters. After the marriage, they apply social pressure on the groom’s family to settle the matter,” Das added.
Himanshu Kumar, a social worker in Bihar’s Nalanda district, said, “It is a social evil which is generally attempted by families who may not be rich but have influence and a stronghold at the panchayat or block level.”
“After conducting a forced marriage, the bride’s father negotiates with the groom. They even apologise to them and pay money to settle the matter but such ‘Pakaduah Vivah’ is successful only if the girl is smart, mature and beautiful, and adjusts in the groom’s family. The bride’s family also applies pressure through influential persons in the village to settle the matter,” Himanshu said.
“There are many cases running in family courts after ‘Pakaduah Vivah’ as the brides are unable to handle the situation at their in-laws house or the grooms refuse to accept them,” Himanshu added.