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UP cops’ moral policing

UP Police ‘illegally’ detained a 23-year-old Hindu boy for marrying a Muslim girl, also 23 years of age, for three days in Loni police station in Ghaziabad

Moral policing as a phenomenon is not confined to smaller towns and cities of the country, nor is the handy works of some goons who see threat to culture from the onslaught of Western ideas and practices.

What happened in Delhi is an eye-opener. This week the Delhi High Court slammed the UP Police for forcibly separating an interfaith couple in Delhi. The Muslim girl, Nisha, had married a Hindu boy, Kumar, both of them 23 years of age. The police was well aware of their age, and that their marriage was out of their sweet will, without any coercion involved. The two families weren’t happy with the marriage.

The two met for the first time at a common friend’s wedding some three years ago. They got married in Ghaziabad on June 28. After their marriage, the couple stayed at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, where Kumar worked as a lab assistant till recently. Nisha is a graduate from School of Open Learning, Delhi University.

Five days after the wedding, on July 3, late in the evening, at around 8 pm, UP police sleuths, accompanied by the JNU security staff, and some others in civilian clothes, barged in their house. Nisha was forcefully taken away and sent back to her family, while Kumar was detained on the charges of the “kidnapping” his own wife. The police action was initiated on the complaint of the brother of the wife that “sister is missing.”

Kumar was held in Loni police station in Ghaziabad district for three long days from July 3 to 5. He was not produced before a court by UP Police.

The idea of the whole exercise was to intimidate him to abandon his wife. Those three days were a nightmare, Kumar told the Delhi High Court. Kumar alleged that he was not only tortured but physically abused during the illegal detention. The police threatened to implicate him in a rape case if he tried to reunite with his wife.

Kumar, after he was released, filed habeas corpus as he was unaware of his wife’s whereabouts for a long time before Nisha called him from her father’s mobile.

The bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel of the Delhi High Court, hearing the habeas corpus — a writ petition — sought an explanation from the UP police before the next hearing on August 7.

The bench met the Nisha separately in the chamber. She confirmed to the judges that she married by her own sweet will and the marriage is even registered at Ghaziabad.

In the order, the bench noted, “We then spoke to Nisha’s mother and explained to her that although she may have reservations about Nisha’s marriage to someone of a different religion, Nisha is entitled to make her choices as she is an adult and cannot be put under any pressure in that regard. Nisha’s mother stated before us that it would be up to Nisha to decide what she wanted to do with her life.”

The court sent Nisha back to her husband with instructions to Delhi Police to ensure their security. The matter will come up for hearing next week when UP Police will have a lot of explaining to do.

Despite the court’s intervention, with two constables deputed for their security, the young couple fear for their lives and are not stepping out of their house.