Under duress, BJP leader in Uttarakhand calls off daughter’s wedding with Muslim man

Religious leaders and right wing groups expressed their protest against the wedding

May 21, 2023 08:22 pm | Updated May 22, 2023 06:06 pm IST - New Delhi

File image for representation.

File image for representation. | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Yashpal Rawat alias Yashpal Benam, a BJP leader in Uttarakhand who is the Nagar Palika chairperson of the Pauri Garhwal district, cancelled his daughter’s wedding with a Muslim man due to protests from religious leaders and right wing groups.

The wedding, scheduled on May 28, became the talk of the town after the invitation card went viral. It mentioned the names of the bride and groom who met during their engineering course in a college in Roorkee. As the news spread, Mr. Rawat started receiving ‘warnings’ to call off the wedding.

During a public event organised in the State capital Dehradun by a religious leader, Swami Darshan Bharti, the public was asked to boycott Mr. Rawat because by marrying his daughter to a Muslim, he was supporting “love jihad”.

“He should be the first one to oppose ‘love Jihad’ and ‘land jihad’. But look, how shamelessly he is calling Muslims to come to ‘Devbhoomi’ (land of gods) and marry our daughters,” said Mr. Bharti and asked the attendees if Mr. Rawat should be taught a lesson. The audience raised hands in affirmation followed by more ‘hate speeches’.

A right-wing group from Haryana, whose members were on their way to Char Dham yatra and got to know about the wedding via social media, stopped at Pauri, especially to raise ‘objections’. They went to Nagar Palika’s office to threaten the chairman who fled seeing the group.

NGOs memorandum

Some NGOs also gave a memorandum to District Magistrate (Pauri) expressing concern over the wedding.

“Such inter-religious marriages will disturb the peace of the land of Uttarakhand. We request you to ensure that even if this wedding happens, Mr. Rawat should go outside the State to do the same,” the memorandum given by EK Prayas, the NGO, said.

After facing a weeklong protest, Mr. Rawat called off the wedding on Saturday. Speaking to The Hindu, he maintained that he could name many big leaders of his own party and Opposition who married off children into other communities and expressed shock at the kind of protest that he faced when he did the same.

“Due to people’s outrage, both in person and on social media, I have to cancel the wedding of my daughter,” Mr. Rawat said. He will be meeting the groom’s family in Amethi soon to decide the next course of action.

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