Sharif Sohail from Indore in Madhya Pradesh groomed a minor girl from another community, converted her to Islam, ‘married’ her, raped and impregnated her and their premature baby is now in the government Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Astonishingly, Indore police arrested him on February 18, but he was granted bail and went absconding.
Sohail is 21 while the minor is 17 and she gave birth on February 17 following which the whole affair was exposed. Hospital authorities sought the girl’s Aadhar card after she gave birth and found that she was only 17. The victim admitted that Sohail had ‘married’ her after getting her religion converted, and she became pregnant. It is likely that the accused would have started grooming the girl from an even younger age, as that is the usual modus operandi in such cases.
Media quoted Sanyogita Ganj police sub-inspector who said that an FIR was registered against Sohail and that he was placed under precautionary arrest over ‘apprehensions’ of disturbance to public peace. This happened on the February 18 but what is unclear is how he got bail.
Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairman Pallavi Porwal came to know about the child marriage and along with other members counseled the teenager. The minor was originally a resident of Sajan Nagar and Sohail’s house is at Azad Nagar in Indore city.
The CWC said it was, prima facie, a case of child marriage, POCSO offenses, and religious conversion since both Sohail and the minor victim were from different communities.
Following a letter from the CWC, Sanyogita Ganj police station finally lodged an FIR against Sohail on February 21 under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 363 (kidnapping), section 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her for marriage) and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act
It is not known whether Sohail has been arrested as yet. Since the minor girl and her newborn are admitted to a hospital, Porwal said that the state will provide shelter, protection, or security if the girl ‘seeks them’. Police have also been directed to record the statement of the girl’s parents.
‘Neutral’ media failed to report the Islamist pedophile’s name (Times of India called him a 21-year-old “boy”) and his photographs are not available.