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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 11:29 GMT
'Incest man' saved from lynch mob
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Calcutta

Jalpaiguri map
A Muslim who married his 15-year-old daughter and made her pregnant had to be rescued from angry villagers in the Indian state of West Bengal, police say

Afazuddin Ali, 36, has five children - three of them daughters.

A few months ago Ali married his eldest daughter, telling his wife Sakina that Allah had ordained him to do so.

Not convinced by his story, his angry neighbours in Kasiajhiora village nearly lynched him for what they said was a clear case of incest.

Marriage within the nuclear family is forbidden in Islam.

'Divine sanction'

"He is a deeply religious man and will never lie in the name of Allah," Sakina told a court in the northern district of Jalpaiguri.

"I agreed to his marriage with our eldest daughter when he invoked divine sanction," she said.

But this story has failed to impress the other villagers.

"We didn't know she was married so when we confronted his wife, she told us about the bizarre marriage six months ago," Sheikh Ramzan, a village leader at Kasiajhiora, said.

"We wanted to smash his head, we were so angry."

When the angry mob attacked Ali on Sunday, a police team went to the village and rescued Ali and his wife.

The couple were produced before a magistrate in Jalpaiguri on Monday.

But as the lower court has no criminal jurisdiction, Ali and his wife were released.

"The police have not lodged any specific charge against Afazuddin (Ali) and my court has no jurisdiction over criminal matters, so what can I do," sub-divisional officer Atanu Roy said.

Angry villagers say that is not good enough.

"The girl is a minor, so at the very least her father should face criminal charges for marrying a minor," villager Sheikh Ramzan said.

Ali and his wife have not returned home because they fear a fresh attack from angry villagers.

They are staying in Jalpaiguri town at the moment.

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