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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Inter-religion marriage: Members of BJP, saffron outfits protest outside venue in Ghaziabad

Bride, family say marriage to long-time beau, a Muslim, consensual, protesters insist it is a case of ‘love jihad’

noida Updated: Dec 22, 2017 23:29 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Police cordoned the bride’s house in Raj Nagar, Ghaziabad, on Friday as protesters blocked traffic at a distance.
Police cordoned the bride’s house in Raj Nagar, Ghaziabad, on Friday as protesters blocked traffic at a distance. (Sakib Ali/HT)

Sitting inside her bedecked house in Raj Nagar on Friday, the day of her marriage, the bride (identity withheld on request) wept, but these were not tears of joy. The auspicious occasion had turned ominous as hundreds of protestors, including those from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and right-wing organisations, protested outside, calling her wedding to her long-time beau, a Muslim, a case of ‘love jihad’.

‘Love jihad’ is a term coined by fringe outfits to describe cases of what they believe are forced marriages between Muslim men and Hindu women.

“We have known each other for quite some time and it (marriage) is my choice. Our families have known each other for long. I never expected such an incident on the day of our marriage,” sobbed the 27-year-old doctor from Ghaziabad who is pursuing her doctorate in Bengaluru. Her 28-year-old husband is a marketing professional and a native of Sector 49, Noida.

Talking to Hindustan Times, the bride’s father said, “I had called the groom’s family and my relatives for a small reception after the marriage. But there have been protests outside our house since morning. My guests were fearful, and we asked them to leave because of safety issues.”

The entire residential sector in Raj Nagar was guarded by police force from at least six police stations on Friday afternoon. Protesters, led by BJP’s city unit, raised slogans and even tried to barge inside the house but were stopped by the police.

Even district officials camped outside while the wedding reception was underway at the bride’s house to avoid any untoward incident.

The bride’s family said that for past two days they had been getting calls from several people who wanted them to call the marriage off.

“Every time I got a call, I politely explained that the marriage is being done with the consent of our children and both the families. The marriage was performed under the provisions of the Special Marriage Act and today (Friday) the bride and the groom signed the documents at the court. There is no pressure whatsoever on my daughter to convert,” the bride’s father said.

Insisting that the bride’s family was being pressurized by the groom to solemnize the marriage, the BJP city president Ajay Sharma said, “Bride’s family is under pressure and she is also being forced to adopt Islam. It is a case of love jihad and we oppose it. They have not taken any permission from the administration for the marriage.”

Hoping that the protesters would see reason, the police and officials of the district administration even organized a meeting between the bride’s family and the protesters, but their efforts came to naught when protesters blocked the main road connecting Hapur Chungi to Meerut Road.

The blockade led to traffic snarls and vehicles had to be diverted.

The blockade was lifted when senior superintendent of police HN Singh assured the protesters that he would write to the district magistrate for a magisterial inquiry. “The bride and the groom are adults and have a right to marry whoever they want. If needed, an FIR or other legal action will only be taken after the inquiry is completed,” Singh said.