No jihad in love, say interfaith couples on V-Day
TOGETHER TIME: New Delhi: Interfaith couples came together at Gandhi Peace Foundation to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day and promote the message of peace and communal harmony.
The event, organised by Dhanak, an NGO that provides legal and financial help to interfaith and inter-caste couples in India, was meant to raise awareness about the rising instances of violence in the name of ‘love jihad’. The gathering of around 20 couples also protested against the recent murder of Ankit Saxena, who was allegedly killed in west Delhi by the family of his girlfriend, who belonged to another community.
With red roses in their hands, the couples took part in a silent march at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg to convey their message.
One of the couples — Kamal Sachdeva (31) and Uzma (29) —got married in March 2017. “I initially faced some resistance from my family but my father was extremely supportive. Although I still have some differences with my mother, I am sure she will come around,” said Uzma, adding that she is accepted by her in-laws wholeheartedly.
Things have been more difficult for another couple — Shahbaz and Priyanka (names changed) — who came to Delhi a week ago after fleeing their homes in Madhya Pradesh as their families threatened the two. Dhanak is providing shelter to the couple, and they plan to get married soon.
Dhanak’s founder Asif Iqbal said the only way to change society was by changing individuals. His interfaith marriage was solemnised in 2000. Five years later, Asif and his wife Ranu founded Dhanak (rainbow in Urdu). The have been since working to create awareness among interfaith couples about the Special Marriage Act. which allows Indians to get married irrespective of religion followed by either party.
Couples took part in the march with red roses in their hands