Jodhpur: Hounded, Faiez and Payal hope to live happily ever after

Faiez Modi, now 23, and Payal Singhvi, now 22, say their friends, classmates, school-teachers and anyone else who knew them outside of their homes were aware of their relationship.

Written by Mohammad Hamza Khan | Jodhpur | Updated: November 8, 2017 7:16 am
rajasthan high court, Jodhpur, jodhpur marriage, jodhpur religious conversion, love jihad case, rajasthan high court, forcible conversion, love jihad, Groups protested against the marriage, the bride’s family alleged she had been brainwashed. (Express Photo: Hamza Khan)

They first became friends almost a decade ago, when he was in Class VII and she in Class VIII at the Sardar Children Senior Secondary School in Jodhpur. In the years that followed, their “casual friendship” developed into a relationship.

Faiez Modi, now 23, and Payal Singhvi, now 22, say their friends, classmates, school-teachers and anyone else who knew them outside of their homes were aware of their relationship. In April, they got married secretly, and on October 25, Payal left her home to be with Faiez.

Her family filed a habeas corpus petition, claiming that she had been “brainwashed” and was a victim of “love jihad”. On November 1, the Rajasthan High Court directed the police to file an FIR, and sent Payal to Nari Niketan for a week.

But on Tuesday, the court ordered that she be set free. “The corpus Payal Singhvi stated before us that she is a major, and she was not in illegal detention of any person, therefore, she may be set free,” said a bench of Justices G K Vyas and M K Garg.

And Payal, now Aarifa, chose to go with Faiez.

Speaking to The Indian Express after the court order, the couple said they never really concerned themselves with the religion of their families. Payal said her father, a pujari, was a Sai Baba devotee and followed his teaching to embrace all religions. She said they have a temple on the ground floor of their house, where she used to sing bhajans and kirtan with her father. “He also made arrangements for Namaz inside the temple on a couple of occasions during Ramzan to send a message of harmony… until he came to know about us,” she said.

When Faiez was in Class X, Payal’s family first came to know about their relationship. Her family members allegedly assaulted Faiez and took away his cellphone and SIM card.

“We have known each other since childhood,” said Payal. “Anyone can claim anything, but I am with him as per my will.”

After they completed school, they weighed their options. But even then, religion was not on the table. “In college, we realised that love won’t fill our stomachs, so I set up a garments business in my second year as an undergraduate,” said Faiez.

While they were in college, her father spotted them together. “He spoke to me. I told him, ‘Sir, you know we have been together for so many years’. He threatened me, but since he is my elder, I listened to him quietly. It is understandable, any parent would have reacted in that manner,” said Faiez.

“We are all educated, and I never brought up conversion or religion with her, until we decided to get married. Because then she may not want to be here, she may feel suffocated,” he said, adding that he too never felt out of place as the only Muslim in a class of 50.

So, he said, he was “shocked” to read about the allegations of “love jihad”.

“I told him to be sure about his decision, because it is an inter-religion marriage. They shouldn’t call it off, after, say, two years, and end up ruining each other’s lives,” said his father, Aijaz Modi.

Payal’s father, Narpat Chand Singhvi, meanwhile, alleged that she was under a spell. “Tantra-mantra aur sab kuch kiya hua hai uspe, mujhe ab is court pe koi umeed nahi lagti. Jab Hindu hi Hindu ke paksh me nahi hai, toh doosro se kya umeed karen (She is under a spell, I have no hope from the court. When a Hindu won’t support another Hindu, what can we expect from others),” he said.

“No other parent should face this. There should be a law whereby one cannot change his/ her religion without the consent of parents,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hindu organisations held protests outside the court on Tuesday, targeting senior advocate Mahesh Bora, who represented Faiez. “Whenever there is an inter-religion case, there are a few people, few groups in our society who want to give it a communal colour… So they made me the target,” said Bora.

“I request our Prime Minister to enforce a strict law against love jihad in Rajasthan so that our Hindu sisters and daughters can get justice and be protected from men with ill intentions,” said Ranjeet Bafna, Jodhpur Mahanagar convenor of Hindu Jagran Manch.

The matter comes in the backdrop of the controversial Kerala case involving Hadiya, a Hindu girl who converted to Islam and married a Muslim man, Shefin Jahan. The Kerala High Court had annulled the marriage and given her custody to her father. The case is now in the Supreme Court.

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  1. V
    Nov 8, 2017 at 9:20 pm
    Hadiya's court appearance on the 27th will make these Hindu extremists mad again HA HA HA HA .......I just pity your narrow view of the world. let an individual DECIDE whom they want to marry and what religion they want to follow, Hindu extremist can sulk all they like but LOVE TRUMPS HATE.
    1. T
      Nov 14, 2017 at 3:16 am
      u r right .. but why convert to an ideology of hate .. which woman will join this hatred ideology where her freedom is curtailed .. ? u support her decision but why not convert that guy to her religion instead.... or marry without converting under special marriages act ...i just hope they dont get killed as there are many isis loving n supporting scum in kerala
    2. C
      Nov 8, 2017 at 5:10 pm
      The hindu gods will punish her
      1. A
        Nov 11, 2017 at 3:43 am
        there is no hindu god. God is one. Hindu , Islam are communities, not religion.
      2. Edson Roque
        Nov 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm
        Muslims are a disgrace for humanity and a curse upon india . Another family which believed in religious co existence has paid the price. Same thing happened in akhila asokan case where her dad was a committed communist secular. The status of muslims in india is that of dacoits wanting to lay their dirty hands upon hindu territory hindu women. Hindus must curb excessive freedom given to women for sake of their safety.
        1. M
          Nov 12, 2017 at 6:10 pm
          Lol! Sanghi chaddi spotted! 😂 1000 years of Islamic rule could have wiped away Hindus and hinduism completely. The Muslims had ALL the power but CHOSE not to. This is actual and real history. If Indians were so brave and resistant how come a few foreigners riding horses could capture the entire country? The fact is that not only the muslim kings ALLOWED the continuation of hinduism, they even built temples for the locals. Babur banned cow slaughter to appease his hindu subjects. The muslims gave India a refined culture of tehzeeb, a highly evolved culture, administrative structure, Mughlai cuisine, great architectural marvels, literature, poetry etc. And the Muslim rule was removed by the British NOT the local Indians. Stop spreading hate and fake history and work to make the election jumla " sabka sath sabka vikas" a reality. Cheers!
          1. T
            Nov 14, 2017 at 3:22 am
            hahaha what bull ? akbar left islsm due to his hindu wife ..he could nto covnert n she forced marriage only on her condition .. hindus were only powerful ..,despite many muslims offering their virgin daughters hindus refused to convert .....its hindus who saved the muslims or else they would be slaughtered .... the current global scenarios where jiahdi terrorists are killing innocents is a proof of the dreams of some ..... however now that they are defeated and running all over .. it will soon be a wipe out for their violent ideology .....hindus become united under muslims rule and resisted hence their dominance in world despite being confined mostly to india ... nno doubt hinus are more powerful today n intellecutals than anyh other religions for the same reason as most of the western world is atheist..haha and thzeeb was given only muslims cos they were called barbarians .. hindus had a great culture of veneration n respect to wards .. muslims continued their inbred cultu
        2. A
          Nov 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm
          Amazing thing here about the comment section is that the muslims are taking up hindu names then commenting.ex hanu Man, Ram so i will writethis comment as allah myself. The thing is yes hindu Girls get attracted to boys regardless of their faith however the same is not true for muslim girls in most of the cases. U see there are abductions of hindu girls in pak then they are forced to convert marry muslim men. unfortunately, radical islamists have come up love jihad to realise their fantasy of islamic india. (Althoug this doesn't seem the case here.) We shouldn't oppose two people who love from uniting but love jihad exists it should be checked by hindus muslims alike to see that peace persists.
          1. A
            Nov 8, 2017 at 3:09 pm
            THIS LOOKS LIKE THE TYPICAL case of bollywood love jihad where the dumb girl grew up watching muslims in bollywood romancing hindu girls in films and getting inspired by that...................and we hindus are responsible for this BOLLYWODD LOVE JIHAD, becaz its we hindus who went and watched movies of those mullas in bollywood and made those pigs rich and famous....WE MUST ALL BOYCOTT MUSLIMS IN BOLLYWOOD
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