Thanks to the intervention of the Allahabad High Court, the love story of a Muslim boy Kaleem and a Hindu girl in a Meerut village — which was turned into a case of “Islamist” conspiracy of “Love Jihad” by Hindutva groups in June last year — reached its logical conclusion. On Sunday, the girl left government custody to stay with her Muslim lover.
Earlier, the girl had moved the High Court. She told the court that she was an adult and that she must be allowed to stay with her lover, who, she claimed, was her husband. The court asked the administration to ensure that the girl stayed with her lover.
“We have sent the girl from the government custody — where she was staying since she ran away from her father’s place alleging threat to her life — to Kaleem’s house,” said Meerut District Probation Officer Pushpendra Singh.
The official formalities were completed on Saturday and the two moved into a house in Meerut, far away from the media gaze.
Kaleem, a resident of Uldhan village in Meerut, was arrested last year on charges of raping the girl after her father Narendar Tyagi pressured her to file a case of rape and forced religious conversion. In June last year, police arrested Kaleem. Kaleem was later told that a case of gang rape and forced conversion was filed against him and his friends by the girl’s father.
The girl belonged to the majority community from Kharkhauda village, some two km from his house. Kaleem had arranged for a job of English teacher for his girlfriend in the local madrasa.
Hours after the case was filed and the news carried prominently by the vernacular Hindi press, it put western Uttar Pradesh on the boil. The Sangh Parivar and the affiliated groups took up the love story of the girl and Kaleem as a textbook example of “love jihad.” But the case took a turn three months later, in October last year, when Narendar Tyagi’s daughter, 22, went to the police alleging that she was forced by her parents to charge her Muslim lover with rape and conversion out of greed for money from a local BJP leader. She told the police that she had gone with Kaleem out of her own will and filed a case against her parents. When approached, Kaleem told this correspondent on Sunday that the “love jihad” controversy took a toll on his life and that of the girl.
Kaleem got bail in May this year, a fact which the local Hindi media chose to ignore. When this correspondent went to meet him, he did not want to interact with “anyone from the media which made a terrorist out of him.”
“I do not know what my fault is. We just fell in love. We are adults and we had the right and we still do have, to decide what to do with our lives,” he said.