The only fiction I enjoy is in books and movies.
Religious discrimination is so internalised in our society that some individuals see no harm in dictating who one should or should not fall in love with.
In an apparent case of moral policing, the Aligarh President of BJP’s Mahila Morcha, Sangeeta Varshney has been caught on camera slapping and shaming a young Hindu woman for being ‘seen in public’ with a man from the Muslim community. As the girl cries and says that she an adult, Varshney continues to shame her and called her father ordering him to slap her some more.
The incident occurred in Naurangabad area of the city on Tuesday. The woman can be heard telling her abuser that the man she was with is her boyfriend, 32-year-old Mohd Faizan, who she has been in a consenting relationship with for the last couple of years.
However, Varshney and others were infuriated as the man was not only a Muslim but the young woman kept her relationship a secret from her family. She slapped her multiple times as the girl objected to her father being called.
As reported by The Times of India, Varshney also claimed to be the Uttar Pradesh head of the Hindu Sena’s women’s wing but BJP media in-charge in Aligarh, Shailendra Gupta, said Varshney was “earlier the city president of the Mahila Morcha, but not at present”.
“Samajh ni aata kaun Muslim hai, kaun Hindu hai?” Don’t you understand who is Muslim and who is Hindu?
Varshney admitted to The Times of India that she had slapped the girl as she was with a man from a particular community. “They are not to be trusted,” she said. “Everyone knows the consequences of such relations.”
The couple was first cornered by members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, who roughed them up and later dragged the two to a police station. “We questioned them on Tuesday, when we caught them doing wrong things in public. Then we took them to the police station,” said Deepak Sharma, general secretary of Hindu Yuva Vahini, Naurangabad.
The girl’s father, who works at a lock-manufacturing unit, said, “I am a very poor person and I don’t want to get involved in any kind of controversy. I have already apologised to everyone and don’t want to pursue the matter. I was not aware of my daughter’s relationship with the man.”
He did not want to file charges against Faizan. However, Aligarh senior superintendent of police Rajesh Pandey said that a case has been registered under section 294 (indulging in obscene act at a public place) of the IPC against Faizan, who was detained by police on Tuesday.
Just four months earlier, in April, Hindu Yuva Vahini goons barged into a house in Meerut, dragged out an inter-religious couple and paraded them to a police station through a crowded street, seeking action against the man for “love jihad”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its election manifesto before the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, promised to create “Anti-Romeo Squads” which would be deployed near colleges to ensure the safety of girls, to keep a check on eve-teasing. Just two days after taking office as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in March, Yogi Adityanath ordered the immediate formation of an Anti-Romeo Dal in 11 districts of the Lucknow zone. This was announced for women’s safety. Anti-romeo squads had said that can spot romeos ‘by the look in their eyes’.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath had also made the term ‘love jihad’ popular alleging that Muslim men lure Hindu girls and later force them to convert.
Sangeeta Varshney and all those supporting her have made a mockery of the Indian Constitution. Article 21 guarantees that no person will be deprived of personal liberty, and with privacy now recognised as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court, no person can dictate how one should lead his or her life.
If political leaders resort to such vigilantism, the common man is bound to echo the narrow-mindedness.
The young woman is an adult and it is her wish who she wants to be in a relationship. The Logical Indian community strongly condemns the actions of Sangeeta Varshney and we hope that justice is meted out Faizan who was detained without any wrongdoing.
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