Abducted Muslim girl from Uttar Pradesh alleges ‘mistreatment, threat of being married off without consent’; Police launch investigation

Image used for representational purposes.

The family of the abducted Muslim girl, who was rescued after more than twenty days, alleged that the girl was tortured and would have been married off without consent by her abductors. 

Vipul Kumar | TwoCircles.net

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NEW DELHI — Missing for the last twenty days, a 24-year-old Muslim girl Syeda Khatun alias Soni was rescued on May 16, 2022, by the Siddharthnagar police in Uttar Pradesh after reports of her alleged abduction and torture went viral on social media platforms. She was allegedly abducted by one Birendra and his associates on April 25. Both the victim and accused belong to Shekhduiya village of Siddharthnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. 

While the accused is on the run, the police have arrested his father Narayan whose name has also been filed in the FIR.

Recollecting the incident, Soni’s father Abdul Majeed told TwoCircles.net that at 3:30 a.m. on April 25, when Soni was out in the fields, Birendra Kumar with the help of three others abducted her.

Later, at 6 a.m., Birendra called Majeed and threatened him to not register an FIR or tell other villagers. “Birendra called me and said he is going to keep her for 2-3 days before sending her back, otherwise do whatever you can,” he said. 

A conversation on Facebook messenger also took place between an account named Sunny and Soni’s brother, Nafees. Majeed said Soni messaged in Urdu, pleading with Nafees to take her back from Lucknow where she was being allegedly tortured by the accused. 

Majeed further alleged that her daughter was beaten. Three photos of the girl were shared on messenger. In two photos, Soni can be seen lying down on a bed with her hands tied behind her back and gagged with a black cloth. The third photo is of a bandaged leg which Majeed alleged to be the sign of her beating.

According to the Majeed, the last conversation took place on May 16, between Soni and her elder sister from an unknown number, in which Soni said, “Humko utha ke laye hain. Humko le chalo. Humko bahut pareshan kar rhe hain. Aaj shaadi karne ke liye kahi le jaege. (They have abducted me. Get me out of here. They are troubling me. Today, they will take me somewhere for marriage.)” 

Majeed said that while on the call Soni had identified the accused Birendra and the location of her alleged abduction as Chanda Bujurg village of Basti district. 

Majeed further accused the police of negligence. He said, “From April 25 to May 1, I kept going to the police station but they didn’t file a complaint.” 

According to Majeed, Etwa Police filed an FIR only after the intervention of SP Siddharthnagar where he filed a complaint. “I received the FIR copy on May 5. After that no further action was taken,” added Majeed. 

Talking to TwoCircles.net, Etwa Police said they have lodged an FIR under sections of IPC 366 (kidnapping, abduction or inducing woman to compel her to marry) and 506 (criminal intimidation). 

Speaking to TwoCircles.net again on the evening of May 16, 2022, the police said, “After photos of the girl went viral on Twitter, police have started actively investigating the case and it will be solved in a few hours,” said Inspector Ajay Kumar. 

“The woman is with the police for a medical examination. She will be presented in front of a magistrate to record the statement and confession under the provision of section 164 of the IPC,” he added.

Vipul Kumar is a freelance journalist and a student at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. He tweets at @vipulizm