In a renewed bout of attention, Damoh finds itself in the spotlight once again, this time for a contentious instance of ‘Love Jihad,’ labelled as ‘Live-in Jihad.’ The city is abuzz with the circulation of images depicting a woman clad in a burqa and hijab alongside a man, accompanied by a linked affidavit.
The woman in question has been identified as 22-year-old Shruti Tiwari, while the man is identified as 42-year-old Mubarak Khan. The controversial pact signed by the duo for a live-in relationship has ignited a heated debate, prompting Hindu activists to take to the streets in protest following the filing of a police complaint.
The affidavit, widely in circulation, contains several controversial stipulations. Notably, it restricts the woman from filing a police complaint against Mubarak if their relationship sours. Additionally, the document stipulates that any potential future marriage between the two can only be solemnized through an Islamic wedding ceremony (nikah).
The saga unfolded on December 18, when the family of Shruti Tiwari filed a missing person’s report (number 133/2023) at the Damoh Dehat police station, asserting her disappearance on December 17. Responding to the complaint, the police initiated a search operation, successfully locating her in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, on January 10.
Family members allege that Shruti has been manipulated and forcibly taken by Mubarak Khan, who purportedly intends to maintain a live-in relationship with her to ultimately convert her to Islam. The emergence of the affidavit, coupled with a photograph of Shruti and Mubarak in burqa, has sparked widespread attention on social media platforms.
The affidavit reveals that Shruti, a resident of Hata, and Mubarak, hailing from Kota Tala, express their intention to live together by entering into this agreement. Having known each other for an extended period, they desire to embark on a live-in arrangement.
The document specifies that, if the couple decide to progress their relationship in the future, their only permissible form of union would be a nikah in accordance with Shariat. Furthermore, in the event of a separation, they commit to part ways amicably, refraining from filing any legal cases against each other and renouncing any claims to property, if applicable.
Additionally, the affidavit outlines that any potential complaints filed by the woman’s family against the man would be deemed null and void. The witnesses endorsing this legal document are Shahid Baig and Shameena.
The planned course of action took an unexpected turn for the accused, Mubarak Khan, when members of Sanatan Sangh, led by Updesh Rana, arrived in Damoh to protest, labelling it a Love Jihad case. Their demands, in addition to the recovery of the woman, included calling for a bulldozer trial.
Expressing concern, Rana stated that incidents of Love Jihad targeting daughters of Sanatan Dharma are on the rise and need to be halted. He urged Hindu families to instil values in their children, emphasising that the responsibility does not solely lie with the police and administration. Rana asserted that the accused youth had allegedly taken the woman away under threat, and currently, she is in the custody of the administration, with her parents being denied access.
CSP Abhishek Tiwari engaged in a conversation with Upadesh Rana, who conveyed that the woman desires to return to her parents voluntarily, and he advocated for her release. Subsequently, police and administration officials have approached the forest staff to provide counselling to the woman.
Nitya Payasi, head of Hindu Jagran Manch, informed Organiser that the accused, Mubarak, who was the driver of a loading vehicle, had come into contact with Shruti while dropping off items at her house. According to Mubarak’s Samagra ID, he is a father of three and already married. Allegations also surfaced that the woman is three months pregnant.
Sanatan Sangh leader Updesh Rana called for police monitoring of Mubarak Khan’s activities and claimed that organised Love Jihad campaigns are underway in Damoh. Rana raised concerns about the role of the government administration in cases like Love Jihad, the Ganga Jamna School Hijab scandal, and religious conversion. He emphasised the need for Hindu parents to instil the right values in their children, especially amidst a surge in Love Jihad cases in the region.