Rohingya minor girl’s nightmare: From rampaging Buddhist mobs to forced ‘marriage’
|Children inside a makeshift school in a Rohingya refugee camp in Jammu. (Photo: Al Jazeera)|
By Moazum Mohammad
April 10, 2016
Srinagar: A minor Rohingya girl ran for her life when a mob went on a rampage in her village in Burma and burnt several houses, including hers. It was only the beginning of a long nightmare.
After the incident of arson and loot, she took shelter in a neighbour’s home in a neighbouring village. She had no idea where her parents had gone in their flight for safety.
“I could not search my parents physically in Burma because a shutdown was observed there. Their phone was also switched off,” said the girl, who is currently in the custody of the J&K government.
The man, in whose home she had taken shelter, misled her into believing that her family was in Bangladesh. Once she arrived in Bangladesh with him, she was told that they have gone to India.
About six months ago (she doesn’t remember exact dates), she was brought to Seer, Ashmuqam in Anantnag district and married off to one Shabir Ahmad son of Ghulam Nabi.
“I was told my Nikkah has been performed with that old man. But I questioned how could they perform my Nikkah without my consent and threatened them I will report to the police. They later kept me as a maid.”
“One day I got an opportunity to call my parents from Shabir’s father’s mobile phone. They told me they had never left Burma. I have them my address and they informed my maternal uncle who is living as a refugee in Delhi. They also gave him the phone number of Shabir’s father,” she told Kashmir Reader.
Her maternal uncle got in touch with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in India, who contacted a lawyer, Faisal Shah, in the Valley in January this year.
Faisal, along with her uncle, attempted to filed a complaint with police in Ashmuqam but it was not registered.
“The SHO Ashmuqam told me the family has bought her for Rs 70,000 and refused to register the complaint,” said Faisal, who filed a writ petition in the High Court and rescued the girl from that family.
However, despite having faced hardships, the girl does not want to file a case against them.
“For six-months, I had to clean the house, do the work in their fields and take care of cattle in the house. I was not paid anything,” she said, “But I am a Muslim. How am I different from them if I file a case against them? My only wish is to go home. ”
Faisal said the court is waiting for a response from the ministry of home and external affairs. The next step will be decided by the communication from the ministry.
“I hope she will be deported to her home soon,” he said.