The Cumilla district registrar has launched an investigation into the allegation that the marriage of Lackingme Chakma who died under mysterious circumstances had been conducted by a marriage registrar in the district without verifying the documents required.
The investigation was launched on Monday in response to the demand placed by eight human and legal rights organisations on January 23 asking the district registrar to cancel the licence of marriage registrar Nurul Islam at ward number 9 under the Cumilla City Corporation for solemnising Lackingme’s marriage with her alleged abductor on a forged birth certificate.
The Buddhist minor girl, Lackingme, had been kidnapped from her Shilkhali residence in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar on January 5, 2020 and then taken to Cumilla, where she was forced to convert to Islam and marry one of her abductors, Ataullah, on January 21 in the year, her family alleged.
Lackingme had given birth to a child 13 days before she reportedly committed suicide at her in-laws residence in Teknaf on December 10, 2020.
‘Although a marriage registrar does not have the means to verify validity of documents produced during the registration of a marriage, he has to have the capacity to read circumstantial evidences to prevent an unlawful marriage,’ Anwarul Haque Chowdhury, Cumilla district registrar, told New Age.
He said that he would soon inform his high ups about the findings of his investigation soon.
An apparently young Chakma girl from Cox’s Bazar suddenly appearing at the doorstep of the marriage office in Cumilla to get married to an adult Bengali definitely calls for a careful evaluation of the circumstances, the district registrar explained.
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, according to the complaint submitted to the district registrar.
The complaint said that the marriage registrar’s action violated the Muslim Marriages and Divorces (Registration) Act and also led the underage girl to death.
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.
The Rapid Action Battalion is currently investigating the circumstances under which Lackingme died after confirming that she was underage during her marriage.
The post-mortem examination report of Lackingme has not yet been made public.
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