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U.P. inter-faith wedding | Will seek magistrate’s nod, says groom

Photo for representation.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

A Muslim man and a Hindu woman, whose wedding was stopped by the Uttar Pradesh police on the basis of the new ordinance against “unlawful” conversion, said they had arranged the ceremony on December 2 unaware of the legislation.

“If we knew clearly about the new law, we would have gone to the District Magistrate and sought permission first,” the 25-year-old groom Kabir (name changed) told The Hindu on Friday.

“We did not know about the new law. We will act according to the law,” said Mr. Kabir.

On Wednesday, he was to get married to his friend of six years, a 20-year-old Hindu woman, when the police reached the venue and summoned the families to the police station before the ceremonies could begin. The marriage had the consent of their families.

Outsiders or the government should not interfere in inter-personal consensual relationships, the bride said, requesting anonymity. “When we both are willing and our families have no problem, then outsiders should not interfere,” she stressed.

Also read: Another FIR lodged in U.P. under new unlawful conversion ordinance

The police reached the venue allegedly on the complaint of a fringe outfit, Rashtriya Yuva Vahini, which describes itself as a “sahyogi” of the BJP. The police asked the couple to first seek the permission of the District Magistrate and cited the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020.

Mr. Kabir said the date for the marriage had been fixed more than a month ago, before the ordinance was passed. The two were preparing to get married as per both Hindu and Muslim rituals at the event on December 2 before getting registered as per the Special Marriage Act, he said.

Mr. Kabir said the couple had no plans to convert post-marriage. “I don’t have such plans even today. In case, there is a complication in future, one of us will change religion.” He said he had “no problem” becoming a Hindu.

He said the couple intended to live according to each other’s customs and any decision to convert would be taken with consent.

“If required we will change religion, if not, then there is no problem. She will live as per her customs and tradition. And I will follow mine. If she feels like [converting], she will. If she doesn’t feel like it, she will not,” said Mr. Kabir. “If I have truly loved her, I will accept her the way she is. And she will have to accept me the way I am,” he said.

The girl’s mother, who works as a cook, said, “We don’t have an issue. We wanted to give her a proper vidai (farewell) with pheras (seven circles around the fire ritual),” she said.

The couple’s lower middle-class locality had a tense feel about it on Friday as residents mostly stayed indoors away from the public eye.

While the two families have decided to stay away from the limelight following the incident and are now apprehensive about social harassment and vigilante groups, they continue to support the couple.

Aaj bhi razi, kal bhi razi. Hamesha ke liye (We are willing today and will be willing tomorrow, forever),” said the girl’s mother. “My happiness lies in the happiness of my daughter.”

Mr. Kabir stated that the couple would now marry only after fulfilling the legal protocol, as submitted by him in writing to the District Magistrate. “If the DM provides us permission, I will go ahead. If he doesn’t, then I will not go ahead with this marriage,” he said.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Suresh Chandra Rawat said both families were called to the police station after they got to know that a boy and girl from different communities wanted to get married. The families were informed about the new ordinance and provided a copy of the same, he said. “Following this, both sides submitted a written consent that they would inform the District Magistrate for permission before taking any steps,” said Mr. Rawat.

However, it is not clear what section of the ordinance the couple seemed to violate, if at all.

K.D. Sharma, president of the Rashtriya Yuva Vahini, claimed he had no objection to the marriage but wanted it to be done after following the due process.

“The minority department head of my outfit told me that if such situations come up, there could also be communal riots in future... if they don’t follow the law. We don’t have any objection to the marriage as long as they take the DM’s permission,” said Mr. Sharma.

He also promised to attend the marriage once it got the DM’s nod.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 6:15:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-inter-faith-wedding-will-seek-magistrates-nod-says-groom/article33253237.ece

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