'Marriage gangs' make merry as MP villages run short of brides

'Marriage gangs' make merry as MP villages run short of brides

'Marriage gangs' make merry as MP villages run short of brides

The skewed sex ratio in Madhya Pradesh has ruined the dreams of many unmarried men in the state. The problem has become so severe that in order to fulfil their dreams of getting married, lakhs of rupees are being given to brokers/middlemen to find a bride. However, in many instances, the bride disappears within a few days with jewellery and cash.


In popular culture, this modus operandi was portrayed in Dolly Ki Doli, a Bollywood film released in 2015. 


Many people have become victims of cases of absconding brides. While there are a few prominent cases, sometimes people don’t even register a complaint owing to the fear of slander.


Sonal Sharma, a social worker, said the number of girls attending classes has reduced and with it, the number of suitable brides has taken a hit. She added that even after the victims are looted of lakhs of rupees by wedding gangs, they don’t file a complaint to avoid bringing dishonour to the family


Recently, a newly wed bride escaped two days after the wedding in Burhanpur. She took Rs 1 lakh in cash and some gold jewellery with her. While the husband, who is differently abled, is in a state of shock, the police are looking for the bride’s mother and maternal aunt.


A resident of Telephone Colony, the groom Rahul Upasane wasn’t able to get married owing to his physical condition. Even though his financial condition wasn’t good, he paid a broker to find him a wife. On July 27, Rahul married Yogita Patil of Parola, Maharashtra. Two days after the wedding, she disappeared with the cash and jewellery, leaving Rahul on the verge of bankruptcy. He visited Parola to find her but was unsuccessful. Then, he filed a complaint with the police, who have already arrested the broker and the priest who conducted the ceremony.


Inter-faith deception

In the last one-and-a-half year, more than a dozen cases of absconding brides have been registered in the region. In Khilchipur of Rajgarh district, a broker took Rs 1.25 lakh from a Hindu priest and got him married to a married Muslim woman. The priest Ashok Sharma wasn’t able to find women in his community to marry, and then he approached the broker Narayan Singh, who convinced him to marry Geeta Bai whose actual name was later found out to be Hina Khan. When the bride tried to run away after claiming that she was ill, the villagers sensed her intentions and handed her over to the police.


Khilchipur police station in-charge Virendra Singh Dhakad revealed that the actual name of the bride was found out during the course of the investigation and she was found to be a resident of Chhindwara. He mentioned that while Narayan Singh is absconding, the police suspect his arrest could expose the entire gang.


In November 2018, Singh had taken Rs 1.3 lakh from the groom’s father in Rajgarh district’s Jagniyapura village. Two days after the wedding, the bride escaped after stealing Rs 50,000 cash and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees. She is still absconding.


In July, a newly wed bride bolted from her husband’s home in Khairod village near Sadalpur in Dhar district, saying her sister was unwell. Pawan Singhal, a Town Inspector at Sadalpur police station, attributed the existence of such rackets to the absence of eligible girls for marriage. He highlighted that some miscreants have identified the problem and exploit it to rob people. 


Skewed sex ratio

Madhya Pradesh is twentieth in the country in terms of sex ratio. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General report tabled in the state assembly on March 24, there is a significant difference in the number of boys and girls. Between 2011 and 2016, the sex ratio stood at 52 to 48.


Amulya Nidhi, a member of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (People’s Health Movement), informed that the sex ratio in 2001 was 932, which has reduced to 912 girls per thousand boys in 2011. Between 2011 and 2016, 33.36 lakh girls were born against 35.89 lakh boys, he informed.


“It is clear from these figures that in these five years, there has not been any specific change in the direction of correcting the ratio. The situation is deteriorating even after all the schemes are being implemented to encourage girl childbirths in the state,” he told 101Reporters.

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