In a country where one’s identity is determined by their caste as much as the species they belong to, it is not often that you find inter-religious couples tie the knot blessed by both sets of families. In Mandya district of Karnataka, not only did this Hindu Girl-Muslim Boy alliance get their parents’ consent, but also their unflinching backing as Right-wing groups tried to thwart their wedding set for Sunday, April 17.
N. Ashitha, daughter of paediatrician Dr. H.V. Narendra Babu, and Shakeel Ahamed, son of businessman Mukhter Ahamed, both MBA graduates, have known each other for over 12 years. When informed of their decision to get married, the families, which had close ties, extended their full support. Preparations were running smoothly when Ashitha’s family was slapped a rude shock of protesters outside their home at 11:30 AM on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists launched statewide campaigns against them, including a bandh in Mandya yesterday. State facilities and businesses were running as usual, but police protection was heightened in sensitive areas. Mandya police also arrested two men for arson Saturday morning, during the bandh.
The groups variously claim they weren’t against this particular wedding and their intention was to ‘raise awareness’ about ‘Love Jihad’: the theory that young Muslim men across the nation lure naïve Hindu ladies into marriage, only for the sake of conversion to Islam. Rumours abound about the bride’s alleged name change and secret religious classes, to perpetuate support for the unrest.
The Logical Indian take
Political groups interfering in the life decision of two well-educated, consenting adults is highly condemnable. Disrupting the daily lives of peaceful citizens to further their agenda and tearing into the fragile unity existing between different castes and religions only reflect their self-interest rather than ‘social service’.
Despite having their privacy and safety compromised, the two families decided to go ahead with the original plans and are set to make it official at Taj Convention Hall, Mysuru, today. We wish them best of luck for their future journey and thank them for standing up against these groups.