Weeks after several right-wing groups had leveled allegations of 'Love Jihad' over the proposed inter-faith marriage of a Hindu-Muslim couple in Karnataka, the couple finally tied a nuptial knot on Sunday amid heavy deployment of police in Mandya, Mangaluru.
Ashita (29), who was in relationship with Shakeel Ahmad (29) since last 12 years, had converted to Islam weeks before her 'Nikah' ceremony on Sunday. She has been renamed as Shaista Sultan.
While the parents of the both the families had shown their consent to the marriage, the prospects of the long-term relationship culminating in marriage had led some right wing groups to raise the bogey of 'Love Jihad,' and protests.
The marriage was also criticized by several casteist groups in Karnataka.
According to a report in The Indian Express, while the function witnessed a low attendance, the ceremony passed off peacefully.
Narrating the pressures she experienced from right-wing groups before the marriage, Ashitha's (Shaista) mother, Uma Devi told the newspaper.
"A group of people claiming to be Bajrang Dal activists came to our house on April 12 and said they wanted to guide my daughter. They demanded that she abandon her plans to marry Shakeel. When she refused, they made some remarks and my daughter started crying. My husband then told them that the marriage will not be cancelled. He told the the group they had no right to interfere in our personal matters. They went out of the house shouting slogans. It was shocking because they labeled the wedding ‘Love Jihad’ which is not true,"
While MBA graduate Shakeel manages his father's family business, his wife Shaista, also an MBA, is the daughter of a pediatrician.
Karnataka police officials told Deccan Chronicle that the claim of 'Love Jihad' raised by saffron brigade is to win support in the coastal region. They also said not only are incidents of Hindus converting to marry a Muslim witnessed, but many Muslims converting to Hinduism for solemnizing their marriages are also reported.