PATNA: Bihar’s old scourge of “pakdua shadi” (forced marriage after abduction) surfaced again as a railway engineer was allegedly abducted at gunpoint by a girl’s family and forced to marry her in Vaishali district.
Durga Sharan, who works as a senior section engineer at the Indian Railways’ diesel shed in Samastipur, told police that he was a victim of the old tradition of “pakdua shadi” and that the wedding he was forced to go through had no legal validity.
According to police, Durga Sharan was abducted when he was returning to his home at Bidupur on a bike along with his friend and engineer Saurabh Kumar late on Saturday evening. The incident happened near Salaha power house under Jandaha police station in Vaishali district.
Although police recovered Durga Sharan at the house of Kameshwar Singh in Raghopur West village on Sunday, the rituals of his wedding with Preeti (name changed), the daughter of Arvind Rai, had been completed by that time.
“Six people, including the father of the bride, have been named accused in this case. A probe is on,” said Jandaha police station in-charge Shobhakant Paswan on Monday.
Durga Sharan told police that his bike was overtaken by a Bolero car, which blocked the path and stopped. About five men came out of the car, blindfolded him, put him in the car and took him to the wedding venue, where he was forced to marry a girl.
After Durga Sharan’s friend Saurabh called his family and informed them of the incident, his (Durga Sharan’s) mother Veena Devi reached Bidupur police station along with some relatives in the night and lodged a case of abduction. Vijay Prakash Pandit, the RPF commandant of Samastipur railway division, also spoke to the Vaishali SP after learning of the incident.
The whole matter, however, got a twist when the bride reportedly told police that she and Durga Shankar were in a relationship for a year and that he was refusing to marry her unless he was paid a hefty dowry. Police, however, did not comment on this aspect.
In January, a similar forced wedding in Bihar had drawn wide attention when some video clips showed Vinod Kumar, a junior manager at Bokaro Steel Plant (BSP) in Jharkhand’s Bokaro, protesting and crying during his forced wedding at Pandarak in Patna district. When Vinod, 29, refused to put vermillion on the girl’s forehead, her relatives were heard saying: “Are you being hanged? We are solemnising your wedding only” and “Why are you worried? Which mountain is being placed on your head?”
Data available with the state police say that over 40 per cent of abductions in Bihar in 2017 were for marriage. Of the 8,336 cases of abduction registered in Bihar till November 2017, as many as 3,419 were conducted for the purpose of marriage.