The couple, after getting married in Bandra court on May 15, is now fighting for the custody of their boy, who is with the CWC. Pics/Hanif Patel
In love with each other since their teens, this Nalasopara couple has gone through it all — parental opposition over their inter-faith union, elopement, pregnancy, birth of the love child, kidnapping and rape case against the youth, and eventual separation. But they fought it all and got married a few days ago, as the girl turned 18 in April.
And yet, a happy ending eludes them. They are now fighting to be reunited with their child, who was taken from them and given to the Child Welfare Committee when the two were separated and sent off to different ashrams.
The Nalasopara couple has been running from pillar to post to get custody of their baby boy, who is in the care of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Ulhasnagar, visiting the Tulinj police station almost daily, only to be disappointed everyday.
The girl, who turned 18 in April this year, and the youth (23), a mechanic, have been in love since she was 14. In June last year, the two eloped, after which her family lodged a case of kidnapping against the youth, as she was still a minor then.
The Tulinj police nabbed them after 20 days, sending the girl to her parents and putting the youth behind bars. The two were also sent for a medical check-up, which revealed that the girl was four months pregnant. The police then added the charge of rape and other relevant sections under the POCSO Act against the youth.
After 15 days of incarceration, the youth managed to get bail. The girl's parents, however, did everything in their power to keep her home and not allow them to reunite. In December last year, she gave birth to a boy.
Worried about her running away again and things going out of their hands over the fact that she would be considered an adult, the girl's parents sent her off to an ashram in Valiv, Vasai (East), as soon as she turned 18 in April. They also took the police's help in sending the youth off to a different ashram in Ulhasnagar, while the infant was handed over to the CWC.
On May 13, the girl got out of the correction home, and the two got married in Bandra family court on May 15. And now, with everything in order legally, they say, they have been running around to get their boy back.
Not without their son
"The Tulinj police misled me. On the pretext of getting a DNA test done, they called me and took my signature on a piece of paper, and then, sent me off to the ashram. I was already a major then. They have given my child to the CWC, which is wrong," she alleged.
"Now, the CWC is refusing to give my boy back. We have gone and met the officials several times, but they are not ready to listen to anything."
The youth said, "We did court marriage. Now, we just want to live together peacefully. We just want our boy back. We have been to the Tulinj police station many times, but they aren't helping either."
"There is a procedure to get the child back. I am helping the couple," said advocate Anjali Patil, who helped to get the youth out after he was arrested.
The couple has been running around to get the custody of their baby boy. Pics/Hanif Patel
When contacted, CWC chairperson Meenal Thakur said, "It is a very sensitive issue. The accused married the victim while out on bail. What is the guarantee that he is not doing all this just to get a discharge from the rape case registered against him? Also, there is no assurance that he won't divorce her later."
CWC officials said that if the youth abandoned the girl, the child would end up on the streets, and hence, it was in the baby's best interests if he were kept in their custody.
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