An inter-faith marriage between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man, which was opposed by some pro-Hindutva and caste activists, was solemnised amid tight security in Mandya Sunday.
After being in a relationship for almost 12 years, Ashitha Babu (29), who belonged to the dominant Vokkaliga community, and Shakeel Ahmed (29) had decided to tie the knot.
While their families had been friends for years, some groups termed the alliance as ‘Love Jihad’ and staged protests in the run-up to the nikah.
On Sunday, although there was low attendance at the wedding, the ceremonies were conducted peacefully. A reception was hosted by the couple at the Taj Convention Hall in Mysore later in the evening.
Last week, Ashitha had converted to Islam and took the name Shaista Sultan to facilitate the marriage.
Interestingly, members of the Bajrang Dal and the Vokkaligara Sangha opposed the alliance despite Ashitha’s father Narendra Babu, a doctor by profession, and Shakeel’s father Mukthar Ahmed, a businessman, stating that the marriage was a collective decision by both the families.
“A group of people claiming to be Bajrang Dal activists came to our house on April 12 and said they wanted to guide my daughter. They demanded that she abandon her plans to marry Shakeel. When she refused, they made some remarks and my daughter started crying. My husband then told them that the marriage will not be cancelled. He told the the group they had no right to interfere in our personal matters. They went out of the house shouting slogans. It was shocking because they labeled the wedding ‘Love Jihad’ which is not true,” said Ashitha’s mother, Uma Devi.
“Initially some of my relatives were opposed to the marriage. But they came around to support us when outsiders began demanding a cancellation,” said Mukhtar Ahmed.
Subsequently, some groups also came out in the support of both the families.
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