Happy end to love story of a Rajasthan couple: Mother at 15, wife at 18
Sachin Kumar was sent to jail on charges of abduction and rape, while Anu Baghel was sent to a government home after her family disowned her when they found out that she was pregnant.india Updated: Oct 25, 2017 17:40 IST
Anu Baghel and Sachin Kumar’s love story had a happy ending on Wednesday, unlike many other intercaste couples who are murdered in honour killings for eloping to get married.
Baghel, an Other Backward Class woman from Rajasthan’s Dholpur, was 15 when she eloped with 21-year-old Kumar in February 2015. Her parents registered a case of abduction and rape against Kumar, a resident of Bharatpur, at Dholpur’s Kolari police station. Kumar belongs to the Scheduled Caste.
Police traced the couple in May 2015. Kumar was sent to jail and Baghel to a government home after her family disowned her when they found out that she was pregnant. She later gave birth to a baby girl, who is two years old now.
Kumar spent 18 months in jail and walked out on bail in 2016. In July this year, he was acquitted of the charges and the case was disposed of.
Baghel turned 18 on October 16 and was taken to the Dholpur child welfare committee.
“On turning 18, the girl was produced before us and we asked her what she wanted to do now. She said she wanted to get married to Sachin if he was willing. We spoke to the man’s family and they agreed to accept her and the infant,” said Bijender Parmar, chairperson of Dholpur child welfare committee.
On Wednesday, eight days after she was released from the government home, they became a legally wedded couple. And their daughter participated in the ceremony.
Members of child welfare committees of Bharatpur and Dholpur, who were involved in the case, were guests at the wedding.
Baghel’s family, however, did not attend the ceremony as they were upset because she was marrying a man from a lower caste.
Her father, Jandel Singh, refused to talk to Hindustan Times about the case.
Hundreds of people – mostly women – are killed in India, usually by members of their family meting out punishment for bringing “shame” to the community.
India registered 251 honour killings in 2015 against 28 in 2014, recording a big spike in murders carried out by people professing to be acting in defence of their family’s reputation, the government told Parliament in December last year.
The 792% jump reflects the rigorous data collection on honour killing, which the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) started doing from January 2014. It also points to the widespread existence of the crime. Most cases went unreported in the past or registered as crimes under murder.
India doesn’t have a specific law to deal with honour killing, forcing law-enforcement agencies to charge suspects under separate provisions of the Indian Penal Code depending on the scale of a crime.
Laxman Singh, Kumar’s father, said his son was a free man because of Baghel’s statement in court.
“How could we not accept her as our daughter-in-law? We are lucky that we also have a granddaughter,” he said.
Rakesh Tiwari, a child rights activist, said the wedding was in the best interest of the two and their daughter.
“This is what is called the complete rehabilitation,” he said.