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Hounded by kin, cops, Muslim couple goes into hiding

It was in August last year that Ahmad and Habib had met each other through a mutual friend.

Written by Esha Roy | Imphal |
Updated: June 9, 2015 2:56:36 am
Manipur couple, love marriage, intercaste marriage, manipur love marriage, manipur, manipur police, assam police,  assam, india news, nation enws Shabaz Ahmad and his wife Archiya Habib. (Source: Express photo)

Shabaz Ahmad (24) and Archiya Habib (19) are married and on the run. The couple has been staying in shady hotels, hiding from the police and fleeing from one part of Manipur to another after the girl’s family, that strongly disapproves of their relationship, slapped a kidnapping case on Ahmad.

Ahmad is a Bengali Muslim, who belongs to a business family. His father runs a perfumery that caters to the markets in Mumbai, Bangkok and Dubai. Habib is the only child of wealthy parents from Assam. Things came to a head on June 2, when Habib’s father, a well-known surgeon in Hojai, Assam, allegedly turned up in Imphal with a dozen men and threatened them.

Dr Chaidul Islam, Habib’s father, is the managing director of three hospitals — Haji Abdul Majid Memorial Hospital in Hojai and two others in Gwalpara and Badarpur in Silchar. All three belong to Assam MP Badruddin Ajmal.

On June 3, Ajmal himself, reportedly, turned up to persuade the couple to return home.

He is also believed to have met Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh regarding the matter.

“An FIR has been lodged against my husband accusing him of kidnapping me. But I got married to him and came here on my own,’’ claims Habib. A team of the Assam Police also visited Imphal to track down the couple.

Guwahati City Police (East), DCP Hemanta Kumar Das, said a case was registered in the Dispur police station on the basis of Dr Islam’s complaint about kidnapping of his “minor” daughter.

“The Investigating Officer (IO) went with a team to Imphal but could not trace them. The IO has since returned,” DCP Das said.

It was in August last year that Ahmad and Habib had met each other through a mutual friend.

“Most of our courtship was over the phone as I was never allowed to go out alone,’’says the 19-year-old.

The couple says that they decided to elope as Habib’s family wanted to send her to Ukraine to study medicine. It was on May 25, Habib claims that she discovered the “plan” to send her abroad and called Ahmad.

While holding a Nikah Nama, written in Manipuri, the couple claims that Habib met Ahmad on May 29, and they approached a Muslim cleric to get married for the second time.

“When we realised that her parents wanted to separate us we got married in April — we received our marriage certificate on April 24. We kept it a secret till this plan to send her abroad came up,’’ says Ahmad.

The couple have surrendered themselves to the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Imphal (West), who has now ordered that they be given protection.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr AK Jhalajhit, SP, Imphal (West) said, “We have received directives from the court. But where are they? How can we give them protection if they don’t come to us.’’

“There has been no let up in police pressure. Her father even threatened to kill me in front of my own father,’’ says Ahmad.

“I fear for my husband’s life,’’ adds Habib. But Guwahati police dismisses Habib’s fears.

“If the girl is above 18 and an adult, and has already surrendered before the CJM in Imphal, then the police can do nothing but wait for the court’s order,” DCP Hemanta Kumar Das said.

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