The police have sought an order from the Child Welfare Commission to put into a shelter home a 17-year-old girl who they fear could be killed by her parents since she had run away with a neighbour belonging to another community.
According to police, there was tension in Ambedkar Nagar slum colony in Cuffe Parade earlier this month when a minor Hindu girl ran way with a 43-year-old Muslim man, allegedly a notorious thief. Police traced the 17-year-old girl and the man in Rajasthan and brought them back to Mumbai on April 3.
The man was charged with kidnapping and rape and remanded in police custody.
According to police, the girl’s family lives close to that of the accused, Salim Ali Hussain alias Salim Bengali, in Ambedkar Nagar slums. Hussain has more than eight cases of robbery, theft and assault registered against at the Cuffe Parade police station. The police had even tried to extern him in 2012. “But we lost the appeal. He was last arrested in case of drug consumption,” said Inspector Sanjay Sangle of the Cuffe Parade police station.
He said the girl and Salim became friendly earlier this year when both their families travelled together to Kalyan.
“Hussain’s wife had left him a few months ago because he wouldn’t mend his ways. She now lives with her parents in Jogeshwari along with their two children. The girl had been upset as a marriage proposal that her family had set up did not work out,” he said.
Sangle said that in March, Hussain allegedly told the girl he wanted to marry her and asked her to elope with him. “The girl’s family did not approve of Hussain and told her to keep away from him. But the girl agreed to run away with Hussain,” he said.
At 10.30 am on March 31, the girl went to a public bathroom in Ambedkar Nagar along with her sister-in-law. Hussain had allegedly given her a burkha and told her to change into it and meet him on the main road, where he would be sitting in a taxi, the police said.
“The girl came out of the bathroom and began to run. However, her sister-in-law spotted her and chased her. The girl got into the taxi, but the sister-in-law managed to see that Hussain was with her,” Sangle said. The family immediately lodged a complaint at Cuffe Parade police station.
According to police, the couple married at a temple in Surat and later checked into a lodge, where Hussain allegedly raped the girl during their overnight stay. The next day, the two proceeded to Falna in Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, tracking the location of Hussain’s phone, police reached Falna on April 2 and waited for the couple at the railway station. “We were sure Hussain would take the girl to the Ajmer dargah next. There is only one daily train to Ajmer from Falna, at 5.30 pm. We caught them when they arrived,” said Sangle.
“Right now, we do not want to risk sending the girl back home. Her family is very angry and we cannot rule out the possibility of honour killing,” he said.