A woman from Surat, Gujarat, refused to have a sexual relationship with her husband after she learned that he already had five wives. The man, who is 21 years older than the woman, has started looking for a seventh wife after the sixth one refused to consummate the marriage.
When people were desperately seeking some relief from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in September last year, Ayyub Degiya was determinedly hunting for a seventh wife, after almost five months into his sixth but unconsummated marriage.
Degiya, a wealthy farmer from Village Kapletha in the state, got married for the sixth time in September 2020 and separated in December after the younger woman allegedly refrained from establishing a physical relationship with him. “She did not allow me to sleep with her. She used to complain of infection. I suffer from a heart ailment, diabetes and other diseases. I need a wife who can keep a relationship with me,” Degiya said.
In this atypical example of Muslim polygamy where the man does not stop even after acquiring four wives, Degiya’s first wife is alive and lives in the same village with their five children, aged between 20 and 35 years.
The sixth wife, a 42-year-old Rander woman and widow, did a background check on Degiya and was shocked to discover that the man had five wives, none divorced from him but separated, before her. Last week, she lodged a complaint against him in a women’s police station. The accused has been booked under IPC section 498-A (cruelty to married woman).
“He got married to more than five women before marrying me but kept me in the dark. After deserting me, he is now living with another woman even when his first wife is alive. I was told by some villagers that he keeps relations for a few months with women and later abandons them,” the complainant told media.
Chandresh Jobanputra, her lawyer, said, “In December, Degiya dropped the woman at her sister’s house in Rander saying he was going out of town. He assured to pick her up upon return. But he never came back and hence she approached the police.”
Jobanputra said Degiya initially approached her family claiming that he wants to marry and support the woman as she is a widow. He said it was permissible under their faith. He promised to give her Rs two lakh worth jewellery and a house, a promise which he allegedly reneged upon.
The rich farmer from Gujarat, however, could not give a satisfactory reply when asked why he separated from all his previous wives. Asmita Pargi, investigation officer at Mahila police station added, “Degiya told us that he did not wish to live with the woman as she is unfit to fulfil his physical demands. Further action will be taken after registering statements of all those concerned.”