PATNA: The forgotten scourge of “pakdua shadi” (forced weddings after abduction) in Bihar resurfaced with a bang on Tuesday after a video clips showing a young engineer being forced to marry a girl at gunpoint after his abduction went viral.
Vinod Kumar, who works as a junior manager at Bokaro Steel Plant (BSP) in Jharkhand’s Bokaro, is seen in the video clips protesting and crying during his forced wedding at Pandarak in Patna district. When the 29-year-old engineer refuses to put vermillion on the girl’s forehead, her relatives are 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?”
The video, perhaps the first of any forced wedding caught on camera, evoked scenes from the national award-winning 2007 Hindi film ‘Antardwand’ and generated animated discussions on the issue of ‘pakadwa shadi’ in Bihar.
“He (Vinod) was forced to marry the girl at her house at gunpoint on December 3. He was abducted by her brother, Surendra Yadav, in a Scorpio car the previous night. Police are not helping us,” said Awadhesh Kumar, his brother, to journalists.
Citing scenes from the video indicating that Vinod was threatened with dire consequences if he refused to marry the girl, Awadhesh said Surendra Yadav had hatched a conspiracy to abduct his brother and force him to marry his sister.
Vinod was allegedly abducted when he came to Patna by train with a friend on December 2 to attend another friend’s wedding at Islampur. He was accosted by gun-toting men who forced him to sit in a Scorpio and brought him to Surendra Yadav’s house. “He was forced to marry Yadav’s sister even as men holding guns stood watching and issued threats,” said Awadhesh.
Denying allegations of refusing help, Pandarak police station in-charge Prabhakar Vishwakarma claimed that police had intervened during the wedding and secured Vinod’s release from the site. “We asked the boy’s family to lodge an abduction case at Mokama because the alleged abduction took place there,” he added.
At a time when the Bihar government is organising a statewide campaign against dowry, this incident of “pakadwa shadi” came both as an oddity and an alarm bell. The phenomenon of eligible bachelors getting abducted and forced into marriage had become rampant in Bihar in the 1980s and 1990s mainly as a fallout of the custom of dowry.
Such weddings take place mostly in districts such as Begusarai, Nawada, Sheikhpura, Lakhiserai, Munger, Gaya, Arwal and Jehanabad. As many as eight people were abducted with the intention of marriage in Bihar last year, according to a report. The state police, however, views “pakadwa shadi” as a social ill, and not crime.