New Delhi/Lucknow: In a departure from the Hindu Right’s stand on ‘love jihad‘, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) top leaders attended an interfaith wedding in Lucknow, where the niece of BJP national general secretary Ram Lal married the son of Congress leader Surheeta Kareem on Saturday.
Surheeta had contested the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypoll.
The guest list at the wedding, held at the five-star hotel Taj Vivanta, included Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, UP deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, and ministers Suresh Khanna and Nand Gopal Nandi.
‘Let love live’
Senior BJP leaders extended their blessings to the interfaith couple, Shriya Gupta and Faizan Kareem, while a section of the BJP in the state criticised the wedding.
Former UP minister and expelled BJP leader I.P. Singh tweeted, “Senior leaders of our party spread Hindutva knowledge in the world that there is a threat from Islam. And they are able to take care of their sisters and daughters. They elope with Muslims. This will not be called Love-Jihad since it’s their family matter…”
Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad took a dig at the RSS — the BJP’s ideological parent — and said the party should let those in love live peacefully.
Ram Lal was a senior RSS functionary before he was sent to the BJP.
आज आरएसएस के प्रचारक व भाजपा के संघटन महासचिव @Ramlal राम लाल जी की भतीजी श्रेया गुप्ता की शादी फैजान करीम के साथ लखनऊ में हुई मेरी तरफ से पूरे @RSSorg परिवार को बधाई, एक निवेदन है कृपया लोगों को भी इसी तरह प्रेम मोहब्बत से जीने दें।
— Chandra Shekhar Aazad (@BhimArmyChief) February 17, 2019
Ram Lal did not respond to phone calls and messages from The Print.
“Our families have known each other for decades,” a Kareem family member told ThePrint on the condition of anonymity.
“This is a private matter between the two families and due to the presence of political leaders, it is unfortunately creating a controversy,” another relative said.
‘Love jihad is dangerous’
The party’s star campaigner and UP CM Yogi Adityanath had called ‘love jihad‘ a ‘dangerous thing’ while referring to the Hadiya case in which Hadiya, earlier a Hindu, had converted to Islam and married a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan.
The case had captured national attention in May 2017, after the Kerala High Court had annulled the marriage. In March 2018, the Supreme Court had set aside the Kerala HC order and upheld that it wasn’t a case of ‘love jihad‘.