Eight leading human and legal rights organisations in the country jointly demanded cancellation of the licence of the marriage registrar who conducted Lackingme Chakma’s marriage allegedly based on forged birth certificate.
The organisations wrote to the district registrar in Cumilla, Anwarul Haque Chowdhury, for cancelling the licence of marriage registrar Nurul Islam of ward 9 under Cumilla City Corporation who solemnised Lackingme Chakma’s marriage without verifying the documents produced.
The Buddhist minor girl, Lackingme Chakma, was kidnapped from her Shilkhali residence in Teknaf and then taken to Cumilla, where she had been forced to convert to Islam and marry an adult Mulsim man by her abductors, her family alleged.
On December 10, 2020 Lackingme died under mysterious circumstances, 11 months after she was abducted on January 5.
The abductors of Lackingme, who was 14 years and 10 months’ old during her abduction, produced a notarised affidavit declaring the girl’s conversion of religion and a forged birth certificate to the marriage registrar, the rights organisation alleged.
On January 21, the marriage registrar conducted the marriage without verifying either of the documents as the notarised declaration was also based on the fake birth certificate, the organisations said.
‘We are aggrieved and condemn and protest at the marriage registrar conducting the marriage based on forged certificate without verifying its validity,’ read the joint letter that the organisations sent to the district registrar.
The letter said that the marriage registrar’s action violated the Muslim Marriages and Divorces (Registration) Act and also led the underage girl to her death.
The letter also demanded that the marriage registrar be brought to book immediately.
The organisations that called for the punitive action are Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Association for Land Reform and Development, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Jana Udyog and Ain o Salish Kendra.
Bangladesh’s law defines someone below the age of 18 as child, who is considered ineligible to take crucial decisions such as marrying someone or converting to other religion.
Even if a marriage is held with a child’s consent, it is legally unacceptable and its consummation is considered rape.
Lackingme Chakma, gave birth to a child 13 days before she reportedly committed suicide at her in-laws residence in Teknaf.
The marriage registrar Nurul Islam admitted to journalists that he did not verify the documents based on which he had conducted the marriage, saying that he did not have the means to do so.
The district registrar assured the complainants of investigating the matter in accordance with the law.
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