The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rape accused turns groom

Behrampore, Dec. 10: Sukurullah Seikh, who was arrested two months ago for “raping” Jeshmina Khatun, married her at the central jail here following a court order.

The subdivisional judicial magistrate had told Seikh, 25, that marriage was the only way he could be bailed out. Seikh had denied his relations with 19-year-old Jeshmina after she got pregnant. The girl became a mother three weeks ago.

Officials of Beldanga police station, about 180 km from Calcutta, said Seikh runs a grocery shop at Medhadher village, where Jeshmina stays. They “fell in love” early this year. When Jeshmina told Sukurullah that she was expecting in September, he shied away from responsibility. Seikh denied his involvement with her and refused to get “forced into a marriage”. Jeshmina had no way but to tell her parents.

“We first brought our daughter’s plight to the notice of the village panchayat leaders, who held a meeting and asked Sukurullah to marry her. But when Sukur’s father Sattar Ali Seikh refused to accept the marriage, we were left with no option but to lodge a complaint with the police in October,” said Jeshmina’s father Badsha Seikh.

The police initially tried to settle the case by counselling Seikh’s family. But the boy kept denying any involvement in the affair. When a bail plea was moved in court, the sub-divisional judicial magistrate said only marriage with Jeshmina could set him free.

The jail premises today wore the look of a marriage house with illuminations all round. Seikh was dressed in a kurta and Jeshmina in ghagra and choli. The 21-day-old daughter was all smile on her mother’s lap at the jailer’s office around 10 this morning.

“We were instructed by the court to arrange a formal marriage of Sukurllah with Jeshmina. Accordingly, we have arranged a registrar and a maulvi to perform the rites,” said Debabarata Banerjee, the jailer.

Jeshmina’s father said he wants to bury the “bitter past”. “I want to forget it. Now let us pray for the well being of the newly weds and their child,” he said. “All’s well that ends well. Hope, she will bring in good luck for us as my son will be bailed out after the marriage,” said a smiling Sattar Ali.

In November, the Barrackpore court asked Dhruba Mitra, 21, to marry Shefali Das after he refused to tie the knot despite having developed a physical relationship.

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