CHANDIGARH: Evil breeds evil. The increasing trend of trafficking of brides in Haryana is a testimony to that. The state’s skewed gender ratio — which, in turn, is a result of female foeticide — has seen young girls of poor families from other states being sold to be married to men in Haryana. It has become a booming business, with the ‘rates’ of brides going at Rs 1 lakh and upwards and agents earning big commissions.
The brides, who are called ‘Paro’ or ‘Mol-ki-bahu’ are literally treated as chattels and sold and resold between men. A majority of them are minors and come from poor families in Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha.
Recently, Haryana Police rescued a 15-year old Dalit girl from Odisha, who was sold for `2 lakh to Sandeep of Bhiwani, who was twice her age. He was arrested along with his mother.
In September last year, six people from Haryana, including two women, were arrested by Uttarakhand Police in Barkot while trafficking a 14-yeqar-old, promising her guardians to get her married. In February 2018, Haryana Police busted a gang and rescued three minor girls in Faridabad and arrested two accused.
Explain the modus operandi, an agent in Jind district said, “The business is booming as brides from Uttarakhand, Bihar, MP, West Bengal and Jharkhand are being bought with the assurance of their parents that they will not get a case registered. Girls from Odisha are also being bought as brides as their rate is around `1 lakh. The girl’s photograph is shown to the prospective buyer-cum-husband through WhatsApp and later a place is fixed where he and his family are shown an album. The girls are mostly below 18 years of age and are not well-educated.”
Sunil Jaglan, convener of Avivahit Purush Sanghatan, who has been running a campaign against female foeticide and bride associated social evils, says, “I raised this issue at a recent conference at Dehradun. A large number of poor parents from Uttarakhand villages sell their daughters to men in Haryana for anything between `1.5 lakh and ` 2.5 lakh. It is estimated that in every village of Haryana, on an average 10 brides are bought from other states. There’s this village Morkhi in Jind district where there are 250-odd ‘purchased brides’.” However, he says nobody, including the government, has the exact figure of such brides.
Explaining the reason for the bride trafficking, Jaglan says, “Because of the gender imbalance, a number of men who are past the prime of their youth are still waiting for a prospective bride. So, their parents and villagers do not object to matrimonial alliance with girls from other states and cultures. They sometimes even sell their lands to buy the brides.”