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Muzaffarnagar’s Muslim women seek safety through marriage

Families look to marriages as refuge from violence,27 'nikaahs' were performed in one day.

Written by Apurva | New Delhi |
September 26, 2013 4:17:19 am

When Mohammed Imran heard that there could be an attack on his village,Kakda,which is located near Muzaffarnagar,he fled with his family.

Muzaffarnagar riots: ‘They harassed me daily and killed my uncles’

It was the only way he could protect them. For nearly three weeks,he found refuge in a house in Shahpur. With the present seeming secure,his thoughts turned to his daughter’s future. And Imran found a way out again: Nikaah.

Muzaffarnagar riots: Tales of tragedy and destruction unfold in refugee camps

On Wednesday,Imran’s daughter Gulasta,and 26 women like her were married in Haji Saeed’s house where they have sought refuge since September 8. There are at least 350 families here from three villages — Kakda,Kutba and Majra — that witnessed attacks between September 7 and 10 and many included young women who were about to be married.

Saeed,Maulana Arshad Madani,who performed the ceremony,and the Uttar Pradesh government presented each newly wed with Rs 50,000,Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh respectively.

On September 7,clashes erupted between Jats and Muslims in Muzaffarnagar and continued for four days. Fifty people were killed in the violence and hundreds injured. Since then,at least 40,000 people have left their homes fearing more attacks.

“The women stay inside and the men sleep in the yard under a canopy. They are safe here,but none of them want to return and have no future or livelihood left. So we met all the families last week and it was decided that we would perform nikaah for all the families that wanted it,” Saeed said. He added that a maulana was called from Delhi and 27 nikaahs were performed on Wednesday.

Imran said it was the only option left. “I have nothing left in Kakda,I will never go back. We were about to start looking for a groom when news of the attacks came and we fled. This is the first time I have smiled since that day. My son-in-law,Zafar,is from Ghaziabad and I know my daughter will be safe with him,” Imran said.

Khalid Mohammed,also from Kakda and whose sister Nafeesa was married on Wednesday,echoed Imran’s sentiments. “Our parents are old and I have a family. Nafeesa was to wed a man from our village,but we do not even know where he is now. We have to look for a new life in some place far from here and marriage was the only way. My sister will at least be away from this place,” he said.

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