Shocking footage has emerged showing a 29-year-old junior engineer from India's Bihar state being forced to marry at gunpoint. The forced marriage, known as Pakaruah shaadi in Bihar, took place a month ago, but the incident came to light after the video was played on local television channels.
Vinod Kumar, a junior manager at Bokaro Steel Plant, was abducted from Mokama town in Patna. On December 3, he had reached Patna to attend a friend's wedding, but gangster Surendra Yadav called him to Mokama on the pretext of meeting him. Yadav then kidnapped Vinod and took him to Pandarak where he was married to a woman at gunpoint.
The viral video shows Vinod begging to release him and crying for help during the ritual. The video also shows women, believed to be from the bride's family, asking him to cooperate.
"We are only performing your wedding, not hanging you," the relatives are heard saying in the video.
The victim told the Times of India that Yadav befriended him last year and in December expressed his desire to meet him.
"We were taken hostage after reaching Gopkita and Surendra and his family members thrashed us. One of his family members pointed a pistol at me and ordered to marry the girl," Vinod told TOI, adding he did not even know the girl's name.
"After my forced marriage, the girl's family members kept me inside a room whole night. The next day, I contacted my brother who reached the village and contacted the police," he said.
Vinod said his brother Awadesh even filed a written complaint about the incident but no action was taken. He even tried to meet Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj thrice but no one helped.
"I have written letters to the Chief Justice of Patna high court, Patna DM, NHRC, Patna SSP and ASP Barh for action, but to no avail," he said.
What is Pakaruah shaadi or forced marriage?
Pakaruah shaadi is an illegal practice followed in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and is carried out mainly by poor families who cannot afford a dowry. Eligible bachelors are abducted by the bride's family and forced to marry. This practice came to light in the 1980s.
The issue has been highlighted in various ways in popular culture. Antardwand — a movie directed by Sushil Rajpal on the topic — had won the National Film Award for Best Film on Social Issues in 2007 and was formally released three years later.
The TV show Sab Ki Jodi Wohi Banata Bhagyavidhataa, which aired on Color TV in 2009, also highlighted the issue of groom-kidnapping in Bihar.