In a wedding held inside Khulna District jail a 39-year-old man married a minor girl who was allegedly raped by him two years ago, authorities said on Monday.
The girl, Sukh Moni, now 15, was brought to the jail from a safe home for the marriage around 2:30 pm on Sunday with accused Rafiqul Islam Babu by the order of the High Court considering the greater interests of the rape survivor, said Md Fakhruddin, deputy jailor of Khulna Jail.
Families of the couple were present during the simple event when marriage registration was done, he said.
He said following the directions of the High Court the marriage was registered by district marriage registrar at the jail office.
Khulna Jail Superintendent Omar Faruque, Jailor Md Tariqul Islam, Deputy Jailor Md Nur-E-Alam Siddiqui were present during the programme along with other officials and staffers of the jail.
“Shukh Moni was brought in jail two days before registering the marriage from Bagerhat safe home. The High Court has approved the marriage and both Shukh Moni’s and Babu’s family have given their consent.” said jail super Omar Faruque.
Babu, arrested in the rape case, has been in jail since December 17, 2020 while survivor Shukh Moni, who was 13 at the time of the assault, was sent to a safe home as she was two months pregnant then.
At the safe home the girl gave birth to a child who did not survive.
Regarding the marriage of the underage girl (child marriage) Advocate Md Mominul Haque, coordinator of Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights Khulna said,” According to section 19 of the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2017, such marriages can be done in a special arrangement with the permission of the court and the consent of both the parents."
“The man was caretaker of a house where the girl used to work as a house help. As she was pregnant when the case was filed she was sent to safe home by the court considering an appeal for her safe custody,” he said.
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Section 19 of the Child Marriage Restraint Act provides that in special circumstances, the court can give marriage to children, for protecting the best interests of them, with the consent of their parents.
However, there is no provision for having any consent from those children while they are getting married as they are not adults.