The only child to his parents, Mahesh fell in love with M. Divya, now 25, in Tuticorin where he was managing a centre that trained youth in obtaining online jobs.

“My mother, a Brahmin, married my father belonging to a Scheduled Caste in 1983 without any problem. But when I, carrying a Dalit identity in this patriarchal society, married a Hindu Nadar girl in 2008, there was no dearth of problems. I was abused, assaulted, kidnapped, tonsured and made to live every second under constant threat to life,” rues 26-year-old marketing executive V. Mahesh, who hails from Putheri village near Vadaseri in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

The only child to his parents, Mahesh fell in love with M. Divya, now 25, in Tuticorin where he was managing a centre that trained youth in obtaining online jobs.

The girl’s mother did not agree to give her in marriage to him, but the girl remained firm in her decision. Despite protests, they got married as per Hindu customs in the presence of the groom’s parents, friends and relatives at Putheri on October 8, 2008.

“Ever since our marriage, we have been receiving many phone calls threatening to do away with our lives, if I don’t return back to my mother. On April 9, 2009, a group of armed men barged into our house and tried to take me away. When Mahesh intervened, they inflicted a cut injury on his right arm. Immediately, villagers gathered near our house and the assailants fled away,” Ms. Divya recalls in horror.

She claims to have lodged a complaint with the Vadaseri police the same day. But a First Information Report was registered only four days later and that too at the instance of the then Superintendent of Police. Thereafter, the couple shifted their residence to Tiruchi. Yet, threat calls continued to haunt them.

“Even now, when a car passes, we hold our hands tightly together. Such is the fear that has been instilled in our minds,” Mr. Mahesh says.

He was reportedly abducted from Tiruchi on September 8, 2009 and the abductors tonsured his head and forcibly obtained his signature on a fake suicide note. Thereafter, he was shifted from one vehicle to another. “The gang leader in the second vehicle was under the impression that I was living with Divya without her consent. But, when I explained to him that it was a love affair and she had married me willingly, he took sympathy and let me go off near Perambalur.”

A complaint booked in this regard is still pending with the Tiruchi K.K. Nagar police station. It was after this incident, Mr. Mahesh approached the Madras High Court Bench here seeking police protection.

Passing interim orders in the case on September 24, 2009, Justice D. Hariparanthaman directed the police in Tiruchi and Kanyakumari districts to provide adequate security to the couple as well as the boy’s parents.

“Apart from harassment through rowdies, my mother was also trying all sorts of black magic to get us separated. In the last four years since our marriage, all that we have been doing is only to visit courts, police stations and temples. It is going to be nearly four years since I got married. Yet, she is adamant and not ready to accept us,” the girl moans.

When the writ petition came up for final hearing last week, Mr. Justice Hariparanthaman attempted to persuade the girl’s mother to accept the couple. His efforts went in vain. He closed the case on Monday after recording the mother’s statement that she would not create any trouble for the couple.