A young Hindu woman from Uttar Pradesh has approached a Delhi court seeking protection from her family members who allegedly threatened to kill her after she married a Muslim man in her village.
The 21-year-old, a graduate, told metropolitan magistrate Babru Bhan on Thursday that she married her lover, 23-year-old Mohamed Shoeb Akhtar, of her own free will.
Accompanied by her advocate, SC Joshi, the woman said she and Akhtar were married in a Muslim “nikah” ceremony this month and have been staying with a group dedicated to helping hunted lovers as they “were scared” of her family.
Inter-religious marriages often spark controversies in India and particularly in Uttar Pradesh where during last year’s assembly by-polls the BJP and its affiliates whipped up frenzy over the so-called “love jihad” issue, accusing Muslim men of trying to trick Hindu women into marriage and forcing them to convert to Islam.
The Love Commandos group and its chairman, Commando Sanjoy Sachdev, told HT that the couple approached them through the organisation’s helpline.
The woman alleged that UP police registered an FIR against Akhtar despite being informed on January 8 about their marriage plans. The complaint from her parents was filed only to harass them because her husband was a Muslim, she asserted.
“I’m a resident of Maharajganj (district) and I came to Delhi on January 8 with Mohamed Shoeb Akhtar of my own free will in order to get married to him,” said the woman in her statement before the magistrate.
When the couple and Sachdev approached Delhi’s Paharganj police station for help, the officers asked her to record her testimony before a magistrate.
Sachdev said the Love Commandos had written several letters to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to draw his attention to the “false” FIR lodged by UP police for alleged kidnapping of the woman. He said this was against the directions of the Supreme Court on such marriages.
“The police administration (is) committing contempt of the Hon’ble SC and victimising lovers,” said Sachdev in his letter to the CM. He said “though the district and police officials in Maharajganj had received our communication dated January 8, 2016 even then they registered the FIR just to victimise the male lover, who belongs to a minority community.”
The letter went on to say that the young woman told the group “the history of her paternal family is that of torturing females in love and she apprehends a danger to her life too.”