April 11, 2007

Bajrang Dal activists ire over inter-religious marriages

(The Hindu
April 12, 2007)

Bajrang Dal activists take to streets over inter-community marriage

Staff Correspondent

Photo: A.M. Faruqui

THE CD EFFECT: Bajrang Dal activists protesting against inter-community marriage, in Bhopal on Wednesday.

BHOPAL: Resistance to inter-community marriage was in full display when some splinter groups of Bajrang Dal came out in strength and blocked traffic here on Wednesday in protest against two alleged cases of Hindu girls marrying Muslim boys.

The other day, a girl's father had lodged a `missing person' complaint and the police had started investigating it. On the basis of inputs provided by the father, members of an influential family from another community were interrogated.

The district Superintendent of Police, A. K. Singh, told The Hindu that they were investigating the matter and there was no coercion from any side. The girl had reportedly called up the police over phone saying she had married one Umar with her consent and both of them were adults. She was asked to appear before the Bhopal police or a magistrate to make her statement, the SP said, adding that she chose to appear before the Mumbai High Court and gave her statement.

Bhopal DIG of Police Anuradha Shankar said the police were following the standard procedure in response to the complaint filed by the girl's father. She said the police were not aware of the content of her statement before the High Court. She also refuted allegations against the police and said there had been no illegal detention during the course of the inquiry.

Even as some activist groups belonging to the majority community were agitating over the issue, news spread here that another Hindu girl, a Class XII student from an English medium school, had eloped with a boy from another community. During preliminary investigations, in response to an FIR lodged by the girl's father under Section 366 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with kidnapping, the police have found from the girl's house an affidavit dated March 20, signed by one Rehan, stating that he has changed his religion and his name would now be Rohan. Further investigations revealed that the boy and the girl were married at a local Arya Samaj temple on March 21 and the police have secured a wedding photograph.

Meanwhile, some groups, including members of Bharatiya Janshakti, blocked road traffic at several places here protesting against the "increasing trend of Hindu girls marrying Muslim boys". A call for Bhopal bandh on Thursday has been given by a newly formed outfit called "Hindu Kanya Raksha Samiti". A section of Bajrang Dal activists and those belonging to the majority community were meeting here on Wednesday evening to decide their future strategy.