Weeks after she had left home with a male friend to his home state of West Bengal, the Delhi High Court on Monday permitted a family to take the woman home after they convinced her to return, telling her, among other things, that the friend is a “Bangladeshi” and did not belong to their religion.
The woman was in contact with the man since 2019.
On December 22 last year, the court had directed the Crime Branch to register an FIR and ordered them to make “all-out efforts” to produce her before the court – the police had said she has married her friend, Syed Mustafa.
Her father had approached the court last month and alleged that his daughter was taken away by Mustafa to Kolkata by train “in an organised manner”. Brought to Delhi by the Crime Branch, she was produced before the court on Monday through video-conferencing. Her family was also present during the hearing.
Belying her parents’ contentions, the woman told the court that she had left on her own with Mustafa. She said that after completing B.Tech she wanted to prepare for competitive examinations but the “atmosphere at home was not conducive, since there were bickering in the family”.
In her statement under Section 164 CrPC, she is said to have exonerated Mustafa, and said it was on her repeated insistence that he had come to take her. They later went to a lawyer, who was paid Rs 10,000 to prepare a nikahnama after calling a qazi. On November 7 last year, she was taken to West Bengal, where she stayed with Mustafa’s aunt for around 20 days, the woman stated. She stated that she subsequently went to Mustafa’s village but his parents did not accept her, and they also scolded him.
She also told the court that she wants to leave Nari Niketan in Delhi and live independently. While the court agreed, saying she was a major, things took a turn when her parents exhorted her to return home. “Apne bhai behan ki taraf dekh lo, beta. Izzat dekh lo hamari. Ye Hindu dharam se nehi hai. Tumhe Bangladesh bech dega. Woh Bangladeshi hai, apne India ka nai hai (think of your siblings, the family’s honour. He is not a Hindu; he will sell you in Bangladesh…),” her mother said, addressing her.
With her father also addressing her in between, she agreed to return to her family when allowed to leave Nari Niketan.
The court said she has not stated she was converted to Islam and it remains to be seen whether mere preparation of a nikahnama would tantamount to a Muslim marriage. It also told the family to create an atmosphere conducive to her to be able to pursue her studies.