Two women run away from their families, hoping for a life together. Two years later, they stare at forced separation.
The couple, aged 22 and 24, was in a relationship and escaped from their homes in Delhi and Rajasthan, respectively, in November 2014. On Wednesday, Delhi Police traced them to Jaipur where they have been living together for two years.
No one is willing to spell out if the two women were lovers but in a country where same-sex union is a legal offence and social taboo, these relationships are often shrouded in secrecy and shame.
Last year, two Mumbai women attempted suicide after their parents forbade the relationship. One of them died.
- Nov 5, 2014: The 24-year-old woman escapes from her home in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur and leaves for Delhi.
- Nov 6, 2014: The 22-year-old woman leaves her home and joins her partner.
- Nov 9, 2014: The two women land in Jaipur and look for jobs.
- Feb 5, 2017: The Delhi Police learn that the couple is living in Jaipur.
- Feb 8, 2017: The two women are found and brought to Delhi. The second woman is produced before a magistrate.
- Feb 9, 2017: Families say they have agreed to return home.
In the current case, the Delhi and Rajasthan women’s parents – who filed kidnapping cases with local police stations-- are now “persuading” them to abandon the partner and return home.
“Both the families are happy that our daughters have been found. We sat them down and convinced them to return to their own homes and find work,” the 22-year-old’s father told HT on Thursday.
But the women have told the police, the court and their parents that they intend to continue the relationship and stay together.
“I want to live my entire life with her. I do not want to go back to my own home,” the 22-year-old later told the magistrate.
The police say their role in the case is almost over but some officials caution that they would need to keep a watch on the families.
“The 22-year-old’s three brothers are angry. Though the two families haven’t used any force, we will remain alert to ensure they aren’t under threat,” said a senior police officer.
The 22-year-old lived in northwest Delhi and was a student at Delhi University. She met the other woman – a resident of Bharatpur in Rajasthan – during a childhood visit to her uncle’s home in the same city.
Their relationship soon blossomed and sources said they would talk for hours over the phone when away from each other, and look for opportunities to meet.
“Our families thought we were in a bad relationship. So, we decided to leave our homes to live together and build our own careers,” the 22-year-old told the magistrate.
On November 5 last year, the 24-year-old escaped from her Bharatpur home and reached Delhi, where her partner was waiting. The next day, they headed out to Rishikesh and Dehradun before landing in Jaipur.
They spent the next few days looking for jobs, police said, but were lucky as the 22 –year-old found work as an accountant with a private firm and the other landed a job as a telecaller.
Introducing themselves as sisters, they took a flat on rent. But their families and police continued their search. “The two families were initially clueless about who had kidnapped the women, but later began suspecting each other’s role in it,” said an investigator.
Delhi Police traced the 22-year-old using her mobile phone’s IMEI number. A police team sent to Jaipur was informed by the women that they had left their homes on their own and were not kidnapped.
The 22-year-old was asked to accompany the police to Delhi as her statement would be recorded before a magistrate. Her partner decided to accompany her.
Once they reached the Capital, police said the 22-year-old was emotional when meeting her family but refused to separate from her partner.
When the 24-year-old had to return to Bharatpur to deal with legal formalities, the 22-year-old insisted on accompanying her. The parents of the 22-year-old went along.