Monday, 30th October 2017

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Love in the time of intolerance

In India 2015, inter-caste married couple seeks police protection

By Shashank Shekhar
  • Published 14.11.15
Rahul Ranjan with his wife Sujata at the Mahila Thana in Bokaro on Friday. Picture by Pankaj Singh

If it had been a village, a khap panchayat may have convicted them to death for falling in love. If it had been a metro, there might have been frowns but the families would have arranged a reception.

But, because it is Bokaro, which falls somewhere in the middle, the marriage of Rahul Ranjan, a Scheduled Caste boy, with Yadav girl Sujata Kumari has resulted in both of them landing up at a Mahila Thana seeking police protection.

Rahul, a 26-year-old Bokaro Steel Limited employee might have been considered a good match for postgraduate student Sujata (24), his neighbour in Sector I-C, had he been born in the so-called right caste approved by her family.

Because he isn't, her family members have allegedly threatened to kill him, his widowed mother and younger sister.

Cupid-struck Rahul and Sujata, who were well aware of the problems that would crop up if they openly declared their intention to tie the knot, got married in Bokaro court quietly on June 21.

But all hell broke loose recently when Sujata's family found out about Rahul. They tried every means to get the couple break up and Sujata married to a boy of their caste.

A horrified Sujata on Thursday contacted Rahul and told him of her worst fears of being forcibly married. Rahul shared with her the alleged death threats he received on his cellphone. The couple left their respective homes and, armed with their marriage registration copy, went straight to Bokaro SP Y.S. Ramesh seeking police protection.

The Bokaro SP directed the couple to spend the night at Bokaro Mahila Thana.

Since then, the two have been kept under Mahila Thana protection, but allegedly, Sujata's family members have on Friday called up Rahul's mother and sister with dire threats, which Rahul duly informed the Bokaro SP.

Bokaro Mahila police station officer-in-charge Radha Kumari said the families of Rahul and Sujata had been summoned to the thana.

"The girl's family members are furious as the boy is from Scheduled Caste. But, we must keep in mind that they are a legally adult pair who got married in court back in June. That's why elders and close kin of Sujata and Rahul have been summoned to police station to settle the matter. We have asked Sujata's close relatives not to take the law in their hands," the Mahila Thana OC said.

What should be Rahul and Sujata's next step? Tell