Love Knows No Religion - A Guwahati Story
For a love affair of two young adults from Guwahati who belonged to different communities and who had eloped last year, it was the victory of love over stifling social restraints when the court set them free recently after a case against them underwent months of legal proceedings and hearings.
The 19-year-old girl, who was a resident of Athgaon, had opted to elope last year with a Muslim boy for the fear of backlash and non-acceptance from their respective communities. They were recently granted permission by the court to live freely wherever they wished.
Sneha Barjatya, belonging to the Jain community, had eloped with a Muslim boy a few months ago, causing much heartburn and consternation among her family members and community.
According to sources, the girl was in an affair with the boy for the past few years. Her family, on coming to know about their relationship, disapproved of it. They then tried to reason with her and became extra vigilant about her whereabouts since then.
There was mounting pressure on Sneha from her family and the community to sever the relationship. Fortune favored her when a few months later her parents had to leave town. Sneha seized the opportunity to leave home. She allegedly also took with her jewelry and cash from her house, which was approximately worth Rs 8 lakhs.
Following this incident, after their return, the girl’s parents filed an FIR with the Bharalumukh police station for their missing daughter and slapped charges of kidnapping and abduction against the boy.
“After some time passed since they went missing, some people from our community came to know from a tip-off that she had changed her religion and had married the boy in a Nikah,” informed a relative of the girl on the condition of anonymity.
He added that the couple became untraceable again after the marriage.
On the other hand, the boy’s parents reportedly denied having any knowledge of the whereabouts of their son or of Sneha. They also said that they were not aware that the two had got married.
The girl, who was on the run, resurfaced in Guwahati to appear before the court during the beginning of this month; her parents had no knowledge of the same.
When she appeared in the court on August 3, her family received another tip-off about her presence in the court. When confronted by them, she allegedly refused to even recognize them leave alone speak to them.
Subsequently, the girl was sent to the state women’s home for two days before her statement was recorded.
Dilip Kothari, the lawyer representing the girl’s family informed G Plus, “Recently on August 6, when the girl appeared in the court in connection with the case, she informed the judge that she had married and is living with her husband by her own free will and was not under any duress as alleged by her parents.”
He added that since the girl is not a minor and is a consenting adult, she was set free by the court and the judge informed that she can live anywhere now. Additionally, her parents have decided not to pursue the case any further.
When the matter had first come to light after the couple went missing, local media houses reported the news mentioning that certain Hindu organizations had called it a case of ‘love-jihad’ since the girl had changed her religion to marry the boy.