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Threat messages have not stopped, we are living like fugitives: BJP MLA’s daughter who married a Dalit

Two months ago, their video message had gone viral, leading to the Allahabad High Court ordering police protection for the couple, Ajitesh’s parents, and their lawyer on a petition filed by them.

Written by Asad Rehman | Lucknow |
Updated: September 16, 2019 11:06:45 am
Vicky Bhartaul, Rajesh Mishra, UP Bareily MLA, Dalit, Rajeev Rana, UP BJP, BJP, Sakshi Mishra, inter caste marriage, UP Police, UP Crime, Pappu Bhartaul, Indian Express Sakshi Mishra and Ajitesh were provided police protection by the Allahabad High Court in July

“The threat calls have not stopped. We get threats online from strangers and unidentified people,” says Sakshi Mishra, the 23-year-old daughter of Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Rajesh Mishra, who, in a video, had alleged that she and her husband Ajitesh were facing death threats from her father, brother and their associates who were opposed to their inter-caste marriage. While Sakshi is a Brahmin, her husband, Ajitesh (29), is a Dalit.

Two months ago their video message had gone viral that led to the Allahabad High Court ordering police protection to the couple, Ajitesh’s parents, and their lawyer on a petition filed by them. Since then, the couple, who got married on July 4, have been living in a rented three-BHK apartment in New Delhi, where two policemen guard the house all the time.

“The policemen accompany us everywhere. We are scared to venture out alone due to the threats we get online,” says Ajitesh, who is managing his business of selling tiles from Delhi over the phone.

“Our video was viewed by people everywhere and we are getting threats on WhatsApp, Facebook almost every day. Random people keeping sharing fake news about us and threatening us. Recently, someone put out fake news on YouTube that I have divorced Ajitesh. Then, there was fake news that I was having a baby. After these videos get circulated, we get calls, text messages and WhatsApp messages from strangers saying that they will kill us. They abuse us for our decision to get married. We don’t feel safe anywhere except in this rented house,” says Sakshi, who had applied for her Masters in journalism from a college in Bhopal, but could not give the entrance examination.

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Sakshi plans to apply for a three-month acting course in Mumbai, but is not sure if she could pursude it due to security reasons.

“My wife’s education has been affected by the whole issue of our marriage… My business has been affected, too. People who work for me are managing the business for now,” Ajitesh says.

“I had complained regarding the misinformation being spread by some so-called news channels on Youtube. But the police have not taken any action on our complaint. Officers from police stations in Bareilly are passing the buck, saying it is not in their jurisdiction,” Sakshi says.

“We never got a chance to live a normal life or get married like a normal couple. Even after our marriage, we are still living like fugitives because of the society,” she adds.

On July 16, days after uploading the video, the couple were allegedly roughed up by a group of people outside the Allahabad High Court where they had gone to attend the hearing in their petition seeking police protection. As directed by the High Court to get their marriage registered, Sakshi and Ajitesh had gone to Bareilly on August 21 to collect their marriage certificate from the Marriage Registration Officer. “We wanted to keep our visit low profile because of the threats, but one local journalist saw us and the news that we were in Bareilly spread on social media. We had to cut our visit short and returned within a few hours,” says Sakshi.

She, however, says that they have not been threatened by her family after the video went viral. “We have not received any kind of threat from my family. They are living their life, while we live ours,” says Sakshi.

Ajitesh’s father, Harish Kumar, who lives in Bareilly’s Veersawarkar Nagar also says that they have not received any threat from the MLA, but they are still “living in fear” because of the local residents. “People here have still not forgotten about the marriage. The kind of messages Ajitesh gets on social media instils fear in us,” says Kumar, who is a manager in the Bareilly branch of Vijaya Bank.

The MLA from Birhari Chainpur in Bareilly had earlier denied that he or his men have threatened his daughter or her husband.

“Wherever she (Sakshi) is, she should be happy. She is an adult and has the right to make her decisions,” he had said.

When asked if she would ever meet her father, Sakshi replies, “It is up to him. If he wants to meet us, we will meet him. If not, we will continue living our lives. It depends on the situation.”

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