Shafiq R Khan

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The tale of Mariyam

Mariyam 
I called her to inquire about a property case which she had filed in local court with the help of our organization, after death of her ‘husband’ Razaq.
She said that she is not interested in that case or any property because it was not first time when she was abandoned by some family, it is her fate so she decided to marry once again and now living with an old man in Palwal. She said that this man is good and she showed her hope to be in family forever. She invited me to visit her home as a brother but also warned that I will visit her new in-laws home personally and alone. She wanted me to make a call after reaching Palwal only then she can guide me to her new home, she did not her address. She assured me that her number will always be reachable. And if she changes her number she will inform me for sure.

After some time when we were in a meeting of paro/molki commune, my colleague Salim Khan called her to enquire about her wellbeing. He found her in trouble; she said that the buyer was beating her. She also told that the man gave an amount of Rs 14,000 to the men who suggested her to get married with the old man. She wanted to be rescued at any cost but she had no clue about her own address. Salim suggested her to ask locals of the address, and assured her that he would call her in a while after informing me. And when he called her back, the phone was not reachable. It was either switched off or out of coverage area. This is not a new thing when a girl disappeared from our sight but this case is really painful because she was one of our dynamic emerging community leaders.
I am writing about a 40 years old woman Mariyam who was trafficked from Assam at the age of 16 when her Husband died and she was forced to accompany with a man to Delhi in search of some livelihood alternatives. She left her son in the hands of her mother and came to Rajasthan, where the man first sold her to an old man and after that she was sold upto 9 times before we met her in Barakali Chowck of Mewat. The then owner or husband (late) Razak had purchased her for Rs. 10,000/- the man was handicapped and he wanted a woman who can earn a livelihood for the family and also take care of him. We visited her owner’s home, who allowed her to participate in our meetings and requested for some financial support for the family. Our local team arranged a job in local Madarsa, where she cooked for students.

After two years of her association with our local team, the man Razaq died in December 2013 of cardiac attack and the very day his nephew disowned Mariyam by saying that she had never been a legitimate wife of Razak and therefore she owes no claim on Razaq’s property or home. The family, with the support of the villagers, were not willing to accommodate her in the house. She was forced out of the house. She somehow picked up documents of the properties with her. A band of Razak’s family members and locals attacked the house where she was hiding and after the intervention of our local team she came managed to lodge the complaint in a local court.
And then she made a hut on a government property nearby her land and home. She was regularly appearing in the court on hearing days.  Some of the locals were supporting her with our team and other paro/molki girls.
Suddenly, she stopped contacting our local team and informed me that she is no longer interested in that property because she has married to someone. And now she was again in the troubles.
Mariam is one of these thousands of ‘unrecognized’ women slaves who are not only facing sexual or mental abuse but also bond to work without any wage. 
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