Stating that she is “glad” of having taken the decision on her own, Sakshi Mishra, daughter of a BJP MLA from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, who accused her father and brother of allegedly threatening her and her husband, a Dalit man, on Friday said that many girls across the country do just what their families want and she hopes to inspire them.
Sakshi, 23, and husband Ajitesh Kumar, 29, have appealed the court, the police and the public to seek protection from her father Rajesh Mishra, the MLA from Bidri Chainpur constituency in Bareilly, claiming that they fear having become a target by virtue of their marriage.
Two days ago, a video went viral on social media in which Sakshi claimed that her father was threatening them of dire consequences since he allegedly did not approve of their wedding.
On Friday, the family had a reunion of sorts in TV studios, with the couple and Ajitesh’s father, Harish Kumar, faced with MLA Mishra and Rajeeva Rana, his alleged aide. Mishra maintained that he did not want to meddle with their marital affairs and that he did not threaten them.
In Delhi, Sakshi told The Indian Express that Ajitesh was her brother Vikky Bhartol’s friend, and that she knew him since ninth grade. “When no one at home would understand me, he was there for support. We saw each other often…. We took a collective decision to get married since my family was otherwise planning my wedding. My family was not very hard on me, but they never tried to understand me or what I wanted to do — they just wanted me to graduate so that I can get married after that.”
She also said, “I want to contact my mother, but I am afraid that my father will track me.”
In Bareilly, a close friend of Ajitesh said, “Vikky and Ajitesh were friends — they studied the same course. Ajitesh (regularly) visited their home, and the two families were aware of the friendship. Sakshi was pursuing a course in Jaipur…. He (Ajitesh) belongs to a humble family – they fell in love and decided to marry; there were no bad intentions.”
Ajitesh’s father is a manager in Vijaya Bank. His mother, who was a government school teacher, died a few years ago.
Ajitesh deals in properties and runs a showroom of tiles in Bareilly. He is also related to Dr Shyam Bihari Lal, BJP legislator from Faridpur, in Bareilly, local residents said.
According to Ajitesh’s neighbours, he has not been home since July 4. Three days ago, the other family members also left. Two days ago, his father Harish Kumar called up neighbour to arrange for a security guard outside their home since it was lying vacant.
Bareilly SSP Muni Raj said the police learnt from social media that a married couple was seeking police protection. “We are ready to provide every level of security. We have not received any written application yet. The MLA wrote to us that she had been missing, which was also investigated. We had earlier placed a picket at the boy’s house. Necessary steps will be taken as we receive in writing.”
MLA Mishra told the media: “She is an adult capable of making her own decisions. I cannot say or do anything about it. Yes, I was concerned when she had gone missing, but even then I did not send men after her. People are asking me if she is welcome home. After marriage, she has to live with her in-laws. So there is no question of that either.”