‘Abducted’ by family,NRI girl’s love story has a happy ending

A love story that was destined for an abrupt end with the abduction of the Australia-based bride...

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Published: July 11, 2009 11:45 pm

A love story that was destined for an abrupt end with the abduction of the Australia-based bride,who eloped with her driver while on holiday in Kerala,has got a new start with the girl returning to live with the husband. On Thursday,Anooja Rosline and P G Baiju had an emotional reunion at the Kochi airport,after episodes of elopement,arrest,court cases,court marriage,abduction by supari gang and a spell of separation lasted a couple of months.

The affair between the girl and the driver had hit the headlines on May 21,when she was abducted by a gang,allegedly engaged by her family,from the youth’s relative house at Mundakkayam in Kottayam.

Mavelimattathil Shaji,a Melbourne-settled NRI from Pambadi in Kottayam,along with his wife Susan and daughter Anooja,had come for a two-month vacation early this year. Baiju,in his late thirties,was hired to drive the family during the holidays. Anooja,who had been a minor then,fell in love with the driver and eloped. Her parents moved the police and nabbed the lovers,after tracing their mobile phone calls. They were produced before a court,which allowed the family to take away Anooja,who had been a minor then.

A few days later,the duo ran away again and registered their marriage in a neighbouring district. This time too,police produced them before a court,but the family had to return empty-handed as the girl had by then turned 18. A crestfallen Shaji left for Australia in early May.

Meanwhile,there had been efforts to separate the lovers,with her family picking up blots in Baiju’s character. According to the police,Baiju had been involved in the abduction of a minor girl in the past,but escaped clutches of the law after she failed to identify him. Another charge against Baiju had been that he had worked as the recovery agent for financiers.

The affair unfolded before public when a gang attacked the house of Baiju’s uncle Mani Madhavan at Mundakkayam,where the couple had been staying. The gang took away Anooja,after injuring Madhavan. Baiju,who escaped unhurt in the attack,filed a Habeas Corpus in the Kerala High Court.

Meanwhile,the Kottayam police got an e-mail message,reportedly from Anooja,which said the girl was safe with her family in Melbourne and that she had not been abducted. As the lovers got separated between far flung nations,the saga slowly slipped into oblivion. However,the couple had been in touch with each other since then and planning a reunion.

On Thursday,as Anooja landed at the Kochi airport,police took her into custody and produced her before the High Court as the Habeas Corpus was still pending. The court,however,allowed her to go with Baiju,as both had legally registered their marriage.

On reaching the airport,Anooja told the media that the gang which abducted her was hired by her mother. “I could not resist the unexpected abduction. I was taken to Australia via Chennai. I was under illegal custody of my parents in Australia. That country’s law,which does not allow illegal custody of adults,helped me escape,” she said,adding that Baiju,too,helped return by crediting in her account the required money for her air fare.

Justice R Basanth,who heard Baiju’s plea,asked the police to provide protection to the couple. He also directed the police to register a case against Anooja’s mother.

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