After Muslim man shops, house razed for eloping with Hindu woman, HC grants couple protection
New Delhi: After a Muslim man’s house and three of his shops were destroyed by authorities in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh for running away with a local Hindu woman, the Madhya Pradesh High Court ordered the police not to take action in a kidnapping case filed by the woman’s family, the Indian Express reported Monday, April 25.
Judge Nandita Dubey of the Jabalpur bench of the high court thus led the police during the hearing of a plea filed by the woman, 22 years old, Sakshi Sahu, in which the latter pointed out that she had married the male, 22 years old. Asif Khan, of his own volition.
According to the statements of the petitioner (Sahu), the couple have been living together since April 7 of this year.
Punished for running away
On April 4, upon becoming aware of the syndicate, Sahu’s brother filed a First Information Report (FIR) with the police under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Section 366 ( abduction, abduction or inducement of a woman to force her to marry).
Three days later, the Dindori district administration razed three shops belonging to Khan’s family including an online service center, a chicken shop and a tea stall, claiming they had been built illegally according to the To express report.
On the same day, two local leaders – former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Minister of State Om Prakash Dhurve and party district chairman Narendra Singh Rajput – launched a protest, blocking National Road 45 and demanding that the Khan’s house is also demolished. Subsequently, District Collector Ratnakar Jha and Subdivision Magistrate (SDM) Balbir Raman met with the protesters.
— Dindori Collector (@dindoridm) April 8, 2022
The following day, amid a heavy police presence, Khan’s single-storey house, registered in the name of his father, Haleem Khan, was demolished, again with the claim that it had been built” illegally”. This prompted the family – Haleem Khan, his wife and two unmarried sons – to leave the Dindori.
During demolition, the To express quoted SDM Raman as saying, “There were also communal tensions in the village. People wanted the house razed.
The demolition of Khan’s house comes at a time of growing reports of local authorities destroying “illegal” property and carrying out “anti-encroachment campaigns”. Moreover, these incidents most often occur after a community scuffle.
In recent weeks, following communal clashes during the Ram Navami (April 10) era, reports of mostly razed Muslim homes have come from The Anand district of Gujarat, Delhi’s Jahangirpuriand Khargone in Madhya Pradesh himself.
In each of these incidents, the owners of the store and home were found to be involved in recent communal clashes and their property was allegedly built illegally.
Following the demolition of Haleem Khan’s house, a video appeared online of Sahu claiming that she voluntarily chose to marry Asif Khan.
Sakshi Sahu, a resident of Shahpur in Dindori, MP, eloped with Asif Khan and got married last week after a long romance. The family filed a kidnapping complaint. 1/2@KashifKakvi #Madhya Pradesh pic.twitter.com/F1cOk2IOMI
— Siraj Noorani (@sirajnoorani) April 10, 2022
Speaking to Dindori Superintendent of Police and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Sahu says in the video that even though she chose to marry Asif Khan, her family opposed their marriage and filed a “wrong way” FIR.
“I want him and he wants me,” Sahu says in the video.
Demanding action be taken against her family for the destruction of Khan’s family property, Sahu pleads with the SP and the Chief Minister, saying that unless action is taken within two hours, she and her husband would commit suicide.
During the hearing of the case, Judge Dubey noted that, according to the petition, the couple had been wrongly advised to marry in a temple rather than through the Special Marriage Act (SMA).
The SMA is religiously neutral, allowing people of different faiths to marry without converting to another faith; something personal laws require.
The couple said they would register their marriage under the SMA below.