(NEW DELIHI, India.) Interfaith Law Report: A controversial new anti-conversion law that criminalises interfaith love has put Hindu-Muslim couples on edge. Now, they face the wrath of not just their families, but also the Indian state #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.16: Ayesha and her boyfriend, Santosh (both their names have been changed) are on the run. “My parents have come to look for me and they are outside somewhere,” Ayesha said. “We are scared. We have been asked to stay inside: “ The couple, both 29, fled their home town in the western state of Gujarat. For now, they are living in a safe house – a nondescript two-story building – in Delhi. Also hiding with them is another couple from Uttar Pradesh state in India’s north:

India’s interfaith couples on edge after new law: In November 2020, Uttar Pradesh became the first state to pass a law – Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance – banning “unlawful conversion” by force, fraudulent means or marriage. It was in response to what right-wing Hindu groups call “love jihad”, an Islamophobic term denoting a baseless conspiracy theory that accuses Muslim men of seeking to make Hindu women fall in love with them with the sole purpose of converting them to Islam.Santosh and Ayesha have dated secretly for 13 years

15 hours ago

By Chinki Sinha
BBC Hindi

A civil right activist holds a placard during a demonstration condemning the decision of various Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led state governments in the country for the proposed passing of laws against "Love Jihad" in Bangalore on December 1, 2020.
Several couples have been arrested under a new law that targets interfaith marriage

The iron door opened just enough for the girl to peep out. She looked scared. 

A ‘lost baby’ in a battle over love and religion

The law has led to multiple cases and arrests in UP, a state governed by India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Madhya Pradesh, another BJP-ruled state, has already passed a similar law and others, including Gujarat, are mulling doing the same. So couples are now leaving these states to marry in what they consider “safer” places such as Delhi. 

Interfaith marriages in India are registered under the Special Marriage Act, which mandates a 30-day notice period. But couples live in fear of reprisals throughout this time and even more so now, with a new law that targets such marriages. 

It’s yet another obstacle in Ayesha and Santosh’s 13-year-long relationship: ‘Our love is love, not jihad’

They met in college in Gujarat in 2009. He was studying Gujarati, and she was an economics student. 

“We had a common Hindi class,” Ayesha said. They became friends and grew close. Two years later, she finally asked him if he loved her and, if he did, why couldn’t he admit it?

Santosh loved her but he also knew that the road ahead would be hard in Gujarat, a state where communal tensions run deep. The couple met in college

They both belong to India’s middle class – Ayesha’s father ran a small local business and she was a school teacher. Santosh’s father was a clerk at the university, where he had a data entry job. He also worked as a freelance photographer. 

But Ayesha is Muslim and Santosh is a Dalit (formerly untouchable), a community that is at the bottom of the unyielding Hindu caste hierarchy.

They both recalled 2002, when more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in riots after a train fire killed 60 Hindu pilgrims in Gujarat. Muslims were blamed for starting the fire. It was one of India’s worst episodes of religious violence. 

And Ayesha and Santosh, who grew up in the shadow it cast, were well aware of the consequences of love that was considered out of bounds. 

“In Gujarat, being an interfaith couple is a big problem,” Santosh said. “You can’t meet, you can’t talk, you can’t do anything.”

But they were undeterred. Santosh told Ayesha that once they began a relationship, he would be in it until the end.

After graduating from college in 2012, they met rarely – but when they did it was the result of meticulous planning. They would meet in public places so it wouldn’t arouse suspicion. And they would keep it short. 

“We would meet with cloth wrapped around our faces,” Santosh said. 

The rest of the time they kept in touch over the phone. 

“We would save each other’s numbers under false names or call from other phones,” he added. Since Ayesha’s family monitored her calls, Santosh often mimicked a woman’s voice when he called her.

When Santosh’s parents found out about the relationship, they decided to get him married. They even forced him into an engagement with a girl last November.

“I was depressed for days. I couldn’t talk to Ayesha as her family had also come to know by then,” he said.

Ayesha’s father and brother were pressurising her to marry as well. 

So Santosh and Ayesha tried to get married in Gujarat – they filed a petition to register the wedding under the Special Marriage Act. But the clerk, who saw Ayesha’s name in the paperwork, alerted her father. The couple fled to Delhi to get married

Santosh paid a lawyer 25,000 rupees ($340; £250) to get their marriage registered, but the lawyer backed out.

“No officials agreed to help. No lawyers would take our case. They would say this is an interfaith marriage and it is dangerous for them. They told us to not to do it,” he said. “Perhaps, there are [right-wing] vigilante groups on the court premises.”

Time was running out. So the couple decided to run away. “I wanted to be with Ayesha. We had no other choice,” Santosh said. 

On 22 January, they came to Delhi hoping to finally marry. 

They say that it was on the flight to Delhi that they spent hours together for the first time in their 13-year courtship.

When they arrived, they sought out the offices of Dhanak, the group that runs the safe house. They informed their parents and the respective police stations that they were in Delhi. They moved to the safe house on 29 January.

Dhanak facilitates marriages between interfaith couples. Its founder, Asif Iqbal, says they have been receiving many calls from couples wanting to get married ever since the new anti-conversion law was passed in Uttar Pradesh. 

“Santosh was crying when he called,” Mr Iqbal said.

Most couples end up losing their jobs while in hiding. Santosh and Ayesha are looking for work. They are worried and scared but they say trust in each other is keeping them going.

“Love is sacrifice,” Ayesha said.

For now, they say, they have a place to live and they are with each other.

“They say love is blind but it’s hatred that is blind,” Santosh said.

All illustrations by Gopal ShoonyaWhat happens when a Hindu and Muslim YouTuber meet?

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Mar.16: 2021:

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#hindu, #india, #interfaith, #love, #muslim

(MULTAN, Pakistan) JUST IN: Five members of a Hindu family were found dead with their throats slit with some sharp-edged weapon in their house in Abu Dhabi Colony, Chak No 135-P, 15-kilometre away from Rahim Yar Khan city, on Friday #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.07: The police claimed the killer was the family head, Ram Chand, who slit throats of his wife, three children over suspicion that his wife had illicit relations:

Five-member Hindu family found slaughtered in their house: ‘Police have recovered murder weapons including a knife and an axe & four members of the Hindu family including a boy, two girls and their mother were slaughtered in mysterious circumstances’

Those murdered were identified as 12-year-old Prem Kumar, 10-year-old Anjali and four-year-old Aneeqa. Their mother was identified as Lakshmi Mai. Ram Chand was also found in critical condition, who later succumbed to his wounds at Shaikh Zayed Hospital, police said: The complainant, Terath Ram, a brother of Lakshmi Mai, lodged his complaint stating that his brother-in-law, Ram Chand, slit throats of his family members over suspicions: Family sources said Lakshmi Mai used to tease her husband often with complains of lack of financial resources to spend a reasonable life:

Social activist Birbal Das in Rahim Yar Khan told The News Ram Chand was a Meghwal Hindu and he was 35-36 years old. He was running a tailoring shop for a long time. He was a peaceful man and living a happy life, and the incident was quite shocking for everyone.

South Punjab Additional Inspector General Police Capt (retd) Zafar Iqbal ordered for speedy investigation into the killings and sought detailed report from the police concerned.

The Rahim Yar Khan police submitted an initial report, claiming that the family head had slit throats of all his family members and himself. Rahim Yar Khan Airport Police Station registered the FIR No 41/21 and launched an investigation.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar took notice of the incident and directed the authorities concerned to arrest the culprits at the earliest.

The News:

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Mar.07: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#crime, #hindu, #killing, #pakistan

India: “Plans to put `Safe Guards onto Social Media Sites’ such as Facebook and Twitter”

#AceWorldNews says the Indian home affairs minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that the government was planning to put a check on social media sites. He backed the move by alleging “misuse” of social media and hinted they incited riots between Hindu and Muslim communities in Uttar Pradesh in August last year.

The minister made his comments while addressing the launch of a Hindi newspaper in Patna in the north of India, and also said that newspapers face a challenge to uphold honest journalism.

#facebook, #guards, #hindi, #hindu, #india, #journalism, #muslim, #newspaper, #patna, #riots, #safe, #social-media, #twitter

Holy Festival of Eid al-Adha – Celebrated

The Prime Minister sends his best wishes to the Muslim community for a joyous and peaceful Eid al-Adha.

Speaking ahead of Eid al-Adha, David Cameron said:

I send my best wishes to Muslims in Britain and around the world celebrating the holy festival of Eid al-Adha.

At this time of year, as is so often the case, we will see Muslims of all ages and backgrounds putting others before themselves, giving to worthy causes and praying for those in need.

I commend Britain’s near 3 million Muslims for their charity, their self-sacrifice and their devotion to God. I believe that our country is a much stronger one because we have people of faith and belief. Britain’s Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Hindus; their institutions and their values help give us that strength.

I hope you have a joyous and peaceful festival. Eid Mubarak!

 

#acegovernmentnews, #aceuknews, #britain, #david-cameron, #eid-al-adha, #hindu, #islam, #jews, #muslim, #sikh