In India, couples marrying outside their caste and religion often face discrimination from both their families and society. Such couples face constant threats and are also at times, become victims of honour killings. Looking at the grave scenario, the Kerala government has set an example by their initiative to open 'safe homes' to provide accommodation to the inter-faith couples.
Under the initiative of the Department of Social Justice, such facilities will be soon opened in all districts across the state. Preliminary steps are already underways, informed the state's Minister of Health and Social Justice, KK Shailaja.
In the state assembly, the minister said that the initiative is aimed at ensuring security for the couples. For opening the 'safe homes,' the government will be teaming up with various voluntary organisations.
The department is already providing financial assistance to such couples for self-employment. Those belonging to the general category and had had an annual income of less than ₹1 lakh are being given ₹30,000 as an aid. If either of the couples belonged to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe categories, they are given ₹75,000 as assistance.
The minister further clarified that while inter-religious couples were included in the category deserving special consideration during the time of transfer in government departments, there is currently no provision for them for government job reservations.
The cases of social inclusion and crimes against inter-caste or inter-religious couples are rampant across the country. In Kerala in 2018, a 23-year old Dalit Christian man was abducted and killed allegedly by the relatives of his wife, who belonged to an upper caste.
In 2016, a couple of Sumesh P Rao and his wife Shamna had alleged that they were being hounded for over 11 years for their inter-religious marriage. In 2014, Gautham and Anshid, another inter-religious couple, were forced to flee their houses after they were pursued by religious fanatics for weeks.