When Hindutva groups intruded on the peaceful ongoing marriage reception of an inter-faith couple, the father of the bride, a Hindu, stood up to protest.
According to the Hindustan Times, a citizen from Ghaziabad (identity withheld) decided to stand against those opposing his daughter’s consensual marriage to a Muslim man.
Despite, the father’s clarifications, members of Hindutva groups came with hundreds of protestors, including those from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest against the marriage, outside the bride’s house.
The protestors told the Hindustan Times:
“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.”
‘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.
Both families had given their consent for the marriage and the couple was going into this willingly.
From two days before the marriage, the bride’s family had been getting calls from several people who wanted them to call the marriage off.
The father said:
“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.”
A meeting was organised between the bride’s family and the protestors in the hope of establishing peace, but in vain. The protesters blocked a busy main road instead.
The bride’s father told the Scroll, that the couple had to get married according to the Special Marriage Act which requires local government to issue a notice in the newspaper regarding the details of the marriage and the families involved.
He suspects that this notice could have tipped off the Hindutva groups.
The police came to the rescue of the harassed family. The house and neighbourhood were guarded by police force from at least six police stations. 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.
On Sunday, the police booked 100 people for rioting, including Ajay Sharma, the Ghaziabad BJP president.