MYSURU: Love triumphed despite efforts by right-wing groups to derail this interfaith wedding. Ashitha and Shakeel of Mandya entered into wedlock under police cover in Mysuru on Sunday evening.
The wedding took place as per Islamic faith. Ashitha, resplendent in a pink lehanga saree, was seated in the reception hall while Shakeel, in a blue suit, was seen welcoming relatives and friends in an illuminated lawn of the wedding hall in Bannimantap. Ashitha’s name was changed to Shaista.
The wedding was held under huge police cover as right-wing activists had staged protests on Tuesday and threatened to scuttle the wedding of this Hindu-Muslim pair who were in love for more than 12 years. The protesters had also called for a Mandya bandh against what they termed ‘love jihad’ and tried to intimidate the families to cancel the wedding.
However, the police who didn’t want to take any chances had barricaded the entrance of the wedding hall and around 100 police personnel, including five inspectors, were deployed at different points under the supervision of DCP Shekar. Cops in civilian clothes were also deployed inside the wedding hall.
The family members of the groom were made to stand at the entrance of the hall to identify their relatives and invitees. Dr H V Nagendra Babu and Uma Devi, parents of Ashitha, and Mukther Ahamed, father of Shakeel, welcomed the guests.
Ashitha, granddaughter of former MLA Veeranna Gowda of Malavalli, is an MBA graduate and knew Shakeel from her student days.
Over 700 people, including writers and activists of progressive organisations, attended the wedding.
Komu Souharda Vedike activist Gowri Lankesh said that no one can question their personal wish and the protests were anti- constitutional.
Writer K S Bhagwan said that opposing inter-religion weddings is like opposing the aspirations of Gandhiji and others who worked for a casteless society. “I am happy that the boy and girl wanted to marry and prove that human values and love are above everything.”
Former minister Athmananda, former MLA G B Shiva Kumar and other prominent personalities attended the wedding.
The guests were served a welcome drink, mutton biriyani, mutton chops, chicken masala, chicken kabab, fish fry, fruit salad, ice cream and paan. Vegetarians were served with sweets, vegetable pulav and other dishes.