Hyderabad: Unauthorized guesthouses and lodges on the city’s outskirts are under scanner, which are being used to accommodate “grooms” from the Middle East visiting the city for illegal contract marriages. In the wake of recent marriages between Muslim girls, mostly minors, and older men from the Middle East and eastern Africa, police raided a couple of guest houses on the outskirts and sealed them.
The Indian Express has quoted DCP (South Zone) V Satyanarayana as saying “A number of houses on the outskirts, especially in Pahadi Shareef area, have been converted into guesthouses. They were earlier not on our records but now we have identified at least 15 places where a large number of such illegal guesthouses cater to sheikhs who come here for contract marriages.”
Instead of booking hotels that might invite scrutiny or police raids, the agents prefer to accommodate their clients in duplexes, bungalows and apartments that have come up along the road from Chandrayangutta to Shamsabad, says South Zone police.
The houses are given on rent at Rs 10,000 for a week. For some bungalows, the rent is Rs 30,000 per month.
MBT leader Amjedullah Khan has termed it as sex tourism. An activist who tips off police about contract marriages, lamented that the whole process is quite easy as there is no accountability. The sheikhs marry and stay with the girls for a few days and go away promising to send visas, but usually abandon them after dropping them at their homes, in the same car leaving for the airport.
According to South Zone police six cases, including one involving a 65-year-old Omani, Sheikh M Ahmad, trying to marry a minor on August 17, were traced.
Arrangement for brides and vacancy advertisement for guesthouses are all done through WhatsApp groups. Officials investigating some of these cases say a group of at least 50 main brokers and at least 150 sub-brokers are involved in identifying families in financial need and approaching them with offers of getting their daughters married to wealthy sheikhs.