ISLAMABAD: Indian ruling BJP Hindu leader Yashpal Benam had to cancel the marriage of his daughter to a Muslim boy after an image of the wedding card was shared online and the same went viral, triggering a ‘controversy’.
Hindutva hardliners were critical of the former MLA and the saffron party alleging “double standards”, others called the marriage an attempt of “Love Jihad”, comparing it with the recently released controversial movie The Kerala Stories.
The BJP leader took the step on Saturday quoting ‘mutual consent’ with the groom’s family in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal. The marriage of the BJP leader’s daughter was scheduled to be held on 28 May. The viral wedding card gained a lot of attention on social media, wherein supporters and opposers of extremist BJP and its ideologies trolled and criticised Benam. “The BJP-ruled states are making films like ‘The Kerala Story’ tax-free while a BJP leader’s daughter is marrying a Muslim man. These are double standards of the BJP and party workers will get demoralised,” said a Facebook user.
“Being a public representative, I did not want my daughter’s marriage to take place under the protection of the police and the administration. I respect public sentiments,” the BJP leader said. “My daughter was going to get married to a Muslim youth. Keeping in view the happiness and future of the children, both families had decided to get them married, for which the cards were also printed and shared. But after the invitation card for the wedding went viral on social media, many types of things came to the fore objecting to the wedding,” he said.
“After the controversy erupted, with mutual consent, both families decided not to carry out the marriage rituals for the time being,” the BJP leader claimed. However, he said that the decision regarding his daughter’s marriage to the same man would be taken together with the family, well-wishers and the groom’s side.
Indian media has reported that while claims of polarisation and the consequent manifestation in society is denied by authoritarian figures, unless it is ‘fictionalised’ in movies blaming one religious faith, this incident potentially bears testimony to the dichotomization in contemporary Indian society.