BALASORE, Odissa: They say love does not see religion, love does not see age and marriages are made in heaven. But this 'love marriage' has been defeated by the law. Reason: the girl is a minor.
Deepak Jena (22), a native of Sahaspur village in Odisha's Balasore district is paying heavy price for marrying a 15-year-old Ranjita (name changed) of the same village. The couple had in fact eloped last year and taken shelter in a relative's house in Agra after getting married in a temple there.
While love is in the air on the occasion of Valentine's Day on Sunday, the boy is cooling his heels behind the bars on the charges of 'kidnapping' the girl, nearly ten months after their marriage. And the girl is running from pillar to post to get him released from jail.
All was well till the couple was in Agra. But little did they know that police were waiting for them back home. The youth has been arrested and slapped with kidnap and rape charges as the girl is three years short of 18 years, the legal age of marriage for girls.
In April last, Ranjita, who belongs to a lower middle-class family, ran away from home with her boyfriend, Deepak, a school dropout as their parents vehemently opposed the relationship. The two had returned back only recently and she delivered a baby boy, a couple of weeks ago.
While the couple was leading a happy marital life, their love turned nightmare for them when police appeared as a villain. The local police executed an old warrant and arrested Deepak, a mason, on the charges of kidnapping.
IIC of Jaleswar police station Chandan Ghadei said on May 12 last year the girl's father had lodged a complaint alleging Deepak of kidnapping his daughter. "The police had then failed to locate them as they fled their native village and the youth was wanted since then. Recently we came to know that they have returned back. As per the law, we executed the warrant," he said.
Even as defending her decision to run away, Ranjita has told the police that she was a victim of child marriage and her parents wanted to take revenge after getting to know about her affair, the police expressed helplessness.
"We can't do anything. Deepak may be released only if the court gets convinced with the version of the girl. Or else the complainant has to file another petition seeking withdrawal of the case," said the police official.
While the love struck couple is sandwiched in legal battle, the newborn is deprived of fatherly love. With little resources Ranjita who finds it hard to fight with the legal system, has appealed to get her love released from jail.