Hindu professor in Bengal alleges in-laws abducted his Muslim wife, seeks help of Hindutva group and police
A Hindu professor in Bengal’s Durgapur whose Muslim wife was allegedly abducted by his in-laws barely a week after their marriage and detained at her paternal home, has knocked on the doors of a Hindutva group and the police to seek help to get her back.
Soumik Das, assistant professor at National Institute of Technology (NIT), alleged that his in-laws were opposed to their marriage since they are from different religions.
Das wrote to a Hindutva organisation - Singha Bahini - on July 31, the day when he found his wife Sahanara Khatun missing, and sought the organisation’s help to rescue her.
The couple had registered their marriage on July 23 under the Special Marriage Act of 1954. Sahanara Khatun is an assistant professor at a women’s college at Dumdum, in the northern fringes of Kolkata.
In his complaint, Das alleged that his in-laws were pressuring him to either divorce his wife or convert to Islam to save the marriage. Das said he was not agreeable to either option.
A picture of the couple shared by the Hindutva group showed Khatun wearing red vermillion in the parting of her hair and standing beside her husband.
On August 2, Das lodged a complaint with Durgapur police station in West Burdwan district. The police registered a case for kidnapping, abduction and wrongfully confinement and criminal intimidation against Usman Ilias (Das’s brother-in-law) and Bacchu (brother-in-law of Sahanara Khatun).
“She is at her parent’s house. When we contacted her, she told us she would tell a court whatever she had to say,” said Goutam Talukdar, officer-in-charge of Durgapur police station.
“I had approached Singha Bahini because they had earlier helped rescue some married women who were kidnapped by their family following inter-faith marriage,” Das said on Friday.
The Singha Bahini is active against what it calls ‘Love Jihad’. Over the past few months, they ‘rescued’ Hindu girls, who eloped with Muslims men and also helped Muslim women tie the knot with Hindu men.
Das claimed in his letter that on July 31, when his wife came out of their residence at the NIT campus for shopping, she was abducted by her in-laws.
Singha Bahini president Devdutta Maji alleged that the family members of Sahanara Khatun were politically influential in Horoa area, more than 200 km away from Durgapur, where she was allegedly abducted from.
“It is unfortunate that an adult is being forced against her will on the matter of choosing her life partner. We would try our best to put pressure on the police and administration,” Maji said.
Khatun or her family members could not be contacted for comments. Khatun’s phone was not reachable.