WHEN VISHAL Mitra, 28, and Ritu Dubey, 27, registered their marriage under the Special Marriage Act here on Tuesday, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists gathered outside to oppose their wedding. They claimed that Mitra is a Christian, and Dubey too was showing signs of having “mentally converted to Christianity” as she had stopped wearing bindi and refused to pray to Hindu gods.
Mitra had played guitar at an event in a church in Bhopal in 2013 — that was the reason cited by VHP activists to claim that he was a Christian.
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While Mitra works as a manager with a Bhopal-based building firm, Dubey is a probationary officer with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) in Indore. The couple had applied for marriage registration under the Special Marriage Act in November-end. On December 27, when they reached the Additional District Magistrate’s (ADM) office, Dubey’s mother, Indu, reportedly objected and stopped them.
But Additional District Magistrate Ratnakar Jha registered the marriage on Tuesday, ruling that “both are adults and have given their written consent… It does not matter what faith they or their parents follow or followed’’.
Security personnel were deployed outside the ADM’s office as VHP activists had gathered outside. VHP leader and former Bajrang Dal convener Devendra Rawat said the girl’s mother gave an affidavit stating that Mitra was a Christian and a probe should be conducted to establish the truth. Quoting the mother, he claimed that Dubey had also “mentally converted to Christianity” after meeting Mitra.
But the application filed by the couple identified both as Hindus.
“In a way it’s a victory for us because, despite being a Christian, the boy has agreed to be a Hindu, which is what we wanted,’’ said Rawat.
Meanwhile, Mitra said he is a “Bengali Brahmin”. “I am relieved. I did not think my marriage would be solemnised today. We are Bengali Brahmins. I don’t know why they accused me and my mother of following Christianity,’’ he said.
Mitra’s lawyer, Milind Wankhede, said he even produced the service record of his late father, an IFS officer, and his own school marksheets to establish that he is a Hindu.
But VHP activists quoted the programme of a youth conference organised at ECI Church in Bhopal, which named Mitra and other members of his group, to claim that he was a Christian.