We know there are for many reasons kidnapping happens. Most of the time it is for sake of money. Sometimes it is for revenge. However in Bihar, bride grooms gets kidnapped, and they are forced to get married! Yes, this is true and it is happening in Bihar.
Bihar police indicated that more than 3,400 grooms were kidnapped in Bihar in 2017 for ‘Pakadua vivah’, a practice of kidnapping bachelor males by bride’s family for forced marriage. The number stood at 3,070 in 2016. In 2015, 3,000 bridegrooms were kidnapped in the state for forced marriages. In 2014, the number was 2,526. The Pakadua vivah of an engineer in a village in Patna got national attention last month when the video went viral. He was abducted by bride’s family and forced to marry at gunpoint.
As per police records, nine forced marriages have been taking place in the state on an average per day. Pakadua Vivah was an oldest social problem in the state to due to high demand for dowry. Girl’s families have been kidnapping suitable youths for forcible marriage. Families often use friends and relatives, and sometimes even hire professional criminals, to carry out abductions for marriages.
The video of a 29-year-old engineer from Patna, allegedly forced for pakadua vivah had gone viral on social media. Vinod Kumar, a young engineer, was forced to marry the girl. The video footage portrayed Vinod Kumar, begging for the release while a group of women allegedly from bride’s family was trying to convince him to cooperate. Kumar’s brother filed a complaint with Pandarak police station.
Pakadua Vivah is a colloquial term for groom kidnapping. This phenomenon can be seen in western parts of Bihar, and eastern Uttar Pradesh. Bachelor men are abducted by the bride’s family and forced to marry, to avoid dowry costs. This system first came to light in the 1980s. The bridegrooms from well-off families are targeted for Pakadua Vivah. The grooms are forced to marry often at gunpoints. The bride’s families abduct young men who have either cleared IAS exams, have a medical or engineering degree or have secured a government job. Director Sushil Rajpal made a film on the issue. The film ‘Antardwand’, based on a real-life incident bagged National Film Award for Best Film on social issues.
The reason of Pakadua Vivah is Bihari families with eligible sons are apt to charge excessive amounts of dowry. The girls’ families therefore resort to kidnapping. Favourite places to snatch grooms are examination centres and large social gatherings at relatives’ houses. The entire village of the girls extends support with video recordings of the marriage. The local priests obligingly marry them and issue certificates.
If the groom tries to extricate himself from the marriage, he faces lengthy legal battles and even criminal charges under Indian dowry law, which is geared towards protecting the rights of women in the marriage as in most cases, the bride’s family is financially strong and politically connected. Over the years, organised criminals have become part of the practice, as they carry out abductions for a fee and also guarantee post-marriage compliance by the groom for an extra fee. Thus many such marriages go unreported and often continue under fear of violence from local criminals. These days due to social media, such cases are getting noticed and voiced.
Unless and until social standards are not changed nothing much can be achieved in such states. Government needs to deal with these issues.