ASIA RECOGNISED BY HER FATHER THANKS TO BLAST’S ASSISTANCE (2010)
Amena, a 40-year old divorcee, and her elderly mother Mominunnesa Beua, had been living in Shafiqul’s house in Rajshahi for about 13 years. Amena sold bangles and ribbons in villages to earn a livelihood. Amena developed a sexual relationship with Shafiqul after he promised to marry her. When Amena became pregnant, Shafiqul denied that he had ever had a relationship with her, and threw her out of the house. Amena gave birth to a daughter, Asia. When Asia was about 12 years old, Amena came to BLAST’s Rajshahi unit office and sought advice and assistance in establishing that Shafiqul was Asia’s father. BLAST’s Rajshahi unit office sent a letter to Shafiqul asking him to attend a mediation session. In October 2010, with the assistance of a local freedom fighter, Mr. Golam Mortuza, BLAST arranged a mediation session at its Rajshahi unit office. After a fruitful discussion, Shafiqul finally admitted that Amena’s allegations were true. He agreed to provide maintenance to Asia, and also swore an affidavit to formally declare that Asia is his daughter.
SURAIYA AVOIDED A CHILD MARRIAGE TO PURSUE HER EDUCATION (2010)
Suraiya, a 13-year old girl from Chittagong, was a class eight student at a local High School. She lived with her father and stepmother, who were both pressuring her to marry a man named Badal. Suraiya was opposed to the marriage, as she wanted to remain in school. In September 2010, Suraiya went to BLAST’s Chittagong unit office to ask for assistance. Upon receiving her complaint, BLAST’s Chittagong unit office sent a letter to Badal and to Suraiya’s father asking them to attend a mediation session. On 14 October 2010, BLAST’s Chittagong unit office arranged a mediation session, at which Suraiya, Badal and her father were all present. After a fruitful discussion, it was decided that Suraiya’s father will not arrange her marriage until she is at least 18 years old; that he may only arrange such a marriage with her consent; and that both Suraiya’s father and Badal, the prospective husband, will be subject to legal penalties if they seek to arrange a marriage before Suraiya reaches the age of 18.
Suraiya is still in school, and living peacefully with her father, stepmother and other family members.
TEEKLY RECOVERED DOWER AND MAINTENANCE PAYMENTS FROM HER ESTRANGED HUSBAND (2010)
Teekly, a resident of Khulna, married Alom, of Gulshan, Dhaka, under Muslim law in 2006. Their marriage was registered, and the kabinnama stipulated that Tk. 3,00,000 was to be paid as dower. A few days into the marriage, Teekly began to face harassment and violence from Alom’s daughter from a previous marriage. Ultimately, unable to bear the situation, Teekly was compelled to leave the matrimonial home and return to live with her widowed mother in Khulna. Alom never contacted her, and paid no maintenance at all. Upon learning of BLAST’s services through a lawyer, in July 2008, Teekly sought assistance from BLAST’s Khulna unit office which sent Alom a notice for mediation. Alom came to BLAST’s Khulna unit office to settle the complaint, but when he refused to pay Teekly the amount due as dower, the mediation process failed.
With BLAST’s support, in October 2010, Teekly filed a Family Court case against Alom, claiming her dower money and maintenance. During the proceedings, a solenama (agreement) was drawn up to record an out-of-court settlement between the parties, which stated that Teekly would receive the amount of Tk. 1,74,000.00 as her dower and maintenance, and that the marriage would be dissolved through khula talak. Once Teekly received the stated amount, and the divorce was finalized, the case was decreed, incorporating the terms of the solenama as part of the decree.
Teekly has saved Tk. 1,50,000 by buying shonchoy potro (savings certificates), from which she earns Tk. 1,400 per month. She has paid off her previous loans with the rest of the money.