Last year, a disturbing video from Bihar surfaced on social media. A man, dressed like a groom, was forced to marry a woman as he kept weeping and begged for help.
The incident showed that the forgotten scourge of Pakadwa shaadi (forced wedding) has returned.
And now, months after the incident, the "groom" got relief as a court declared his "marriage" null.
The menace of forced marriages was extremely common in Bihar several years ago. The bride's families would get a "suitable" boy abducted and force him to marry the girl.
As law and order situation in the state improved, there was a dip in such incidents.
But in December 2017, an engineer named Vinod Kumar became a victim of the abominable practice.
The video of Kumar's sham of a wedding found its way on social media in January 2018.
Kumar, who worked as a junior manager at Bokaro Steel Plant at the time, had gone to Patna to attend a friend's wedding.
An acquaintance offered to drop him off. But he took a detour under the pretext of "picking some stuff" from his home.
At the spot, all arrangements were made for "wedding" and Kumar was told what awaited him. He was taken to a room, made to dress like a groom, and was beaten when he resisted.
After Kumar refused to apply vermillion to the bride, he was told, "We are only performing your wedding, not hanging you."
The next day, his family was informed.
"Surender Yadav, the woman's brother, thrashed me and threatened to kill me if I didn't marry his sister. They dragged me to the mandap and put a gun to my head. There was nothing I could do. I kept crying but they weren't bothered," he had said.
On learning of their son's troubles, Kumar's family approached police, only to be ignored. They were told Kumar wasn't "kidnapped" and that he is a "married" man.
"Which means the cops already knew about everything beforehand. They had accepted a bribe from the accused," Kumar had alleged.
After the video went viral, senior officials stepped in and his story was heard.
Kumar had filed two cases: One for the marriage to be declared void, and another of criminal conspiracy.
In May, a family court in Patna annulled his marriage, orders of which were sent to him a few days ago.
Kumar said there are slight chances that bride's family might challenge it. And even if they do, he is "determined to fight till the end".
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