Families keep low profile as cops stop interfaith wedding
The families of an interfaith couple confined themselves to their respective houses through Thursday and Friday after police did not allow them to conduct the couple’s wedding in Lucknow on Wednesday night, according to people familiar with the matter.
Police intervened in the matter on a complaint by activists of a hardline Hindu outfit, though it was a consensual union acceptable to the families of the 21-year-old Hindu woman and the 24-year-old Muslim man, citing violation of a new law in Uttar Pradesh against forced and dishonest religious conversions.
Before the police intervention, the families had mutually agreed to solemnise the wedding with Hindu rituals first and later conduct it in accordance with Muslim practices.
The families were asked to apply for permission to conduct an interfaith marriage from the district magistrate.
On Thursday and Friday, the families avoided talking to the media and social activists approaching them. A friend of the groom’s family, requesting anonymity, said the two lower-middle-class families stayed in the same colony developed by the district urban development agency (DUDA) in Narpatkheda locality under Para police station limits.
“Their houses are barely at a distance of 15 metres in the same colony and love blossomed between them, while they were living there for the past few years and they decided to get married. Their families also agreed recently, after which the marriage was scheduled on Wednesday night,” he stated.
“Everything was going well till Wednesday night. The groom was following each and every ritual done in Hindu marriages, like tying turmeric beads on the wrists. The bride’s family had made arrangements for the wedding feast. They had invited their relatives and friends. But suddenly the police intervention halted the rituals. The two families were then summoned to the Para police station and told about the new law,” he added.
He also said the two families had discussed the matter but had not applied for the marriage permission yet. He said they were planning to engage a lawyer and apply together for the permission next week.
Another local said the bride’s family had spent around ₹85,000 to make all the arrangements, but all of it went in vain.
Madhu Garg, state president of the All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA), criticised the incident and stated that the country’s constitution allowed everybody to follow any religion. She said police intervention in private affairs amounting to violating the rights and privacy of the two families.
Garg said AIDWA workers visited the two families on Friday, but they were not ready to interact.
“After much reluctance, the woman’s family stated they have sorted out the issue and there is no pressure from police or administration to cancel the marriage. But it seemed that they had fear of some local activists on whose complaint the police had halted the marriage,” she added.
However, additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP), South, Suresh Chandra Rawat had earlier said the police had not intervened in anybody’s personal affair, but the two families had been suggested to proceed according to the new law to avoid any inconvenience in the future.
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