A resident of Gorwa in Vadodara, Fazal Rana, has approached the District Collector Avantika Aulakh to declare null and void, the marriage of his 22-year-old daughter Asma to her Hindu husband Upendrasinh Jadav. According to Rana, Asma, who eloped with Upendra in December 2014, registered her marriage with Upendra at the office of the registrar of marriage, Digas-Macchi Group Gram Panchayat on March 7, under the Gujarat Registration of Marriages Act, 2006. Before getting into wedlock, she submitted an affidavit that she had converted to Hinduism. Rana said Asma’s conversion was in contravention of the provisions of Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act 2003 that requires an explicit permission from the Collector for religious conversion.
According to Rana, who runs a provision store and works as a part time civil defence volunteer, his daughter was “lured” by Jadav, 23, whose family lives in the neighborhood. The young lovers had eloped on December 21, 2014 after stiff opposition from both families to their relationship. About two months later, on March 3, the two married at a temple in Navapur village of Nandurbar district in Maharashtra after Asma “converted” to Hinduism through an affidavit. On March 7, the duo registered their marriage and arrived at Gorwa police station where the families were summoned to be “cautioned to exercise restrain” and not threaten the couple. Rana, who had approached the police on March 11 and has now appealed to the the district collectorate says he wants his daughter back. “The law in Gujarat states that any religious conversion needs permission of the collector. My daughter has simply made an affidavit stating that she is converting and gone ahead with registering her temple marriage. I have urged the collector to declare the marriage null and void. I will bring her back home and bring her on the right track.”
Rana has submitted an application in March before the Vadodara police seeking action against Jadav for producing “fake documents” to register his marriage with his “innocent daughter”. Rana says the police had escorted the couple from the police station to an undisclosed location. “Till date, the police are not ready to tell us where my daughter is. My wife Sultana is inconsolable and we are worried about her. We need to know if she is alright and bring her back home.”
In her affidavit, made on March 2, a day before her temple wedding, Asma had stated, “I have been inclined towards Hindu faith for a long time and have been praying in temples. I married Upendrasinh Jadav in a temple in Navapur, Nandurbar, Maharashtra on March 2, after embracing Hinduism at the Mahadev Temple in Navapur. I wish to make this information public through the affidavit.” When contacted, Aulakh said, “We will examine the documents and take a decision.”