Gujarat High Court Sets Free Interfaith Couple Detained for 9 Days

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The woman had also written to the police authorities that she was married and had left home of her own volition

Mahesh Trivedi | Clarion India

AHMEDABAD — The Gujarat High Court has set free a newly-married interfaith couple detained for nine days in separate police stations in Palanpur town of the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state’s Banaskantha district after the two were hauled up from Kerala where they had gone to celebrate their honeymoon.

In response to a January 18 habeas corpus petition saying that Nisarkhan Ghasura (30) was illegally detained, arrested and remanded to police custody, the court on Tuesday quashed the remand order, and said that the accused and his Hindu wife Shweta (29) should be immediately granted bail and given police protection in Surat where the duo wants to live.

After hearing the petition filed by Ghasura’s brother, the court also criticised the police for showing “undue fervour” in investigating the case by specially flying all the way to Kerala to collar the couple.

On December 30 last, Ghasura, an officer in Surat’s Road Transport Office, had rechristened himself as Nishant after embracing Hinduism before tying the knot with Shweta, his childhood friend and taluka panchayat officer in Palanpur, in a temple in Rajasthan.

Shweta’s father against whose wishes she married had complained to the police, accusing Ghasura of violating the state’s anti-conversion law, the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003, and concealing his marital status while eloping with his daughter who also was accused of stealing Rs 82,000 before leaving her Palanpur home.

According to the habeas corpus petition, On January 4, after reaching Kerala, the woman had also written to the police authorities that she was married and had left home of her own volition. In the first week of January, the Gujarat Police travelled to Kerala and on January 12 brought the couple to Palanpur where the husband and the wife were separated and sent to different police stations .

N K Majumdar, the petitioner’s lawyer, said that the couple was kept in illegal custody till the two were formally arrested on January 15 after an FIR was filed on the basis of the complaint lodged by Shweta’s father. The police produced the couple before a local court seeking a 14-day remand for custodial interrogations but were granted a four-day police custody, an order which was set aside by the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday.

Muslim community leader Zahid Kadri told Clarion India that marriage was not a crime but the biased police had their own laws to hound and harass couples and their parents, adding that only courts could stop the cops in their tracks like in the Palanpur case.

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