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Monday, May 29, 2023

Hindu Janjatiya girl’s ‘nikah’ solemnised with Md Haroon under the CM Kanya Vivah Scheme: C’Garh

A Hindu Janjatiya girl from a Gond family in Chhattisgarh’s Surajpur was married off to Mohammad Haroon without the knowledge of her parents. That the ‘nikah’ took place under the Congress-government-organised wedding programme raises several questions including whether the Bhupesh Baghel government is encouraging grooming/love jihad. The Organiser journalist Subhi Vishwakarma presented a ground report on the issue.

The Chhattisgarh government had organised a mass wedding programme under the Chief Minister’s Kanya Vivah scheme at Surajpur District’s Kot-Patna village on March 13. It was at this function that the Janjatiya girl identified as Basanti got married to Mohammad Haroon. Authorities who approved the documents stated that the Janjatiya girl is a major and had consented to the wedding.

Hindu activists accused the Baghel government of supporting Islamic conversion as an Islamic cleric solemnised the ‘nikah’. It must be mentioned that no cleric would allow a Hindu to marry a Muslim and hence, it is apparent that Basanti was converted to Islam before the wedding.

Activists have deemed the marriage illegal and demanded it should be registered under the Special Marriage Act. Furthermore, they are attempting to bring Basanti, who is still residing with Haroon, back. Meanwhile, Janjatiya community members have asked that ‘bulldozer justice’ be delivered highlighting that Muslims have been taking away their daughters for generations.

All, except Basanti and Haroon, the 85 couples listed for marriage at the event were Hindus. “The pictures from the event show that a cleric is solemnising the wedding. This means Basanti was converted to Islam before the marriage in front of the authorities and with their permission. It is understood that any cleric will not allow a Hindu woman to marry a Muslim boy without conversion. Conversion is the first thing needed to be done before ‘Nikah’ in Islam”, writes Subhi. Notably, neither of Basant’s parents was present at the function.

Her parents came to know of the marriage only after villagers informed them after Haroon brought the Janjatiya girl to the village. The parents accompanied by activists went to the Superintendent of Police’s (SP) office three days later to register a complaint against the authorities and Haroon. However, the SP only accepted an affidavit and did not file any case.

The complaint says that Basanti’s father, Devnarayan Uike (70) resides in the Barbaspur village of Surajpur District’s Ramanujnagar tehsil. The March 17 letter says that Devnarayan who believes in Hindu Dharma belongs to the Gond janjatiya community that is listed as Scheduled Tribe in the constitution.

He has three daughters and a son. His daughters Kaushalya and Moharmaniya are married to men from their janjatiya community, his son Uday is married to a Hindu girl, and Basanti was unmarried. The complaint further notes that his daughter was married off at the government function without prior intimation to them and that Haroon lured Basanti forcing her for ‘nikah’.

The ‘Nikah’ took place under the supervision and with the permission of the officials. Not only this the local tribal leader legislator Khelsai Singh was also present at the event. Haroon managed to have ‘Nikah’ with Basanti which is otherwise illegal due to administrative protection. Devnarayan has demanded strict action against Haroon and the officials.

To be listed for marriage under the Kanya Vivah scheme, the couples have to go through an elaborate verification process and submit several documents. That an already married Haroon, who is not even separated from his first wife, was allowed to marry a janjatiya girl despite such a tedious process points at the complicity of the officials.

Subhi says that Anganwadi workers tasked with verifying couples visited Devnarayan’s house the morning she visited them and Devnarayan’s wife Kunti Uike told her that the workers took their thumb impression but didn’t inform them what the document was. The journalist notes that following the complaint against Haroon and officials, attempts are being made to prove that the ‘nikah’ was done with the consent of the janjatiya girl’s parents.

Devnarayan also informed Subhi that Haroon residing about two kilometres from their house is unemployed. He is already married to a Muslim woman who is residing with her parents at present but the couple is not legally separated. Basanti is Haroon’s second wife. Furthermore, Devnarayan said that the same family had taken away one of his aunts (bua) and another relative who is no more but never married them.

“The ceremony was organised for the ‘Kanya Vivah’ not ‘Kanya Nikah’. How can a person holding a government post allow such marriage to take place? it is illegal. The couple should have filed a Notice of Intended Marriage to the Marriage Registrar of the district thirty days before the marriage. Did Haroon give any such notice? no. Shockingly the government called a cleric in the mandap and he recited ayat from the Quran in front of the authorities, are they promoting ‘Love–Jihad’?”, BJP District Head Babulal Agarwal, who is working closely with the family, said.

Similar cases of Hindu janjatiya girls being taken away by Muslims who never marry them have been reported from here earlier too. Hindu activists have been protesting along with locals and are trying to help the family by getting the culprits booked. Meanwhile, Basanti told the local media that she ‘loves’ Haroon and was in a live-in relationship with him for eight months before marrying him at the government event.

He and people from the Gond janjatiya community tried convincing Basanti says Devnarayan. “Since Basanti left home, Devnarayan and his family are being boycotted by the whole tribe. No one calls them to the family functions. This is when they are against their daughter. For instance, if Haroon leaves Basanti for another woman, she will have no place to go as the tribe will never accept her, he added”, reports Subhi.

“People like Haroon are taking away daughters of the Gond tribe for their benefit only. They are not doing it out of love. He can make Basanti fight the sarpanch elections with the same Tribal quota, as she still owns a Gond caste certificate. The Panchayat and other local body elections have seats for the Scheduled Tribes for the village, tehsil and even the division and that is why Haroon and his family are doing this for generations”, BJP leader Maravi told The Organiser.

He further said that Haroon will ask Basanti to claim a share in her parent’s property under the Hindu Succession Act since she still holds the Gond janjatiya certificate despite being converted to Islam for her ‘nikah’ with Haroon. It must be highlighted that only a janjatiya person can buy and sell land belonging to members of the janjatiya community.

Although tribal laws are meant to protect the way of life, culture, and customs of the janjatiya community, after conversion to another faith the converts do not retain the janjatiya way of life and faith in deities they previously worshipped. Therefore, it is essential that those who undergo religious conversion are delisted.

“In this remotest area where there is no network, no roads, and least connectivity to the city but conversion is a serious threat there. Missionary works are rampant, such conversion ‘Nikah’ is taking place and tribals are converting. The situation on the ground is alarming”, Subhi concludes.

This case also raises the question that is the Bhupesh Baghel Congress government encouraging conversion nikah. Are Hindu girls safe in the Congress-ruled state?

(Featured Image Source: The Organiser)

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