In a country where the majority of marriages are deemed to be made in heaven only if it is arranged by parents, quite a few inter-caste couples who eloped to get united take refuge in police stations as a last resort to fend off opposition from those hell bent on separating them.
Even the Dharmapuri couple, Ilavarasan (since deceased) and Divya, had approached the Salem Deputy Inspector General last year seeking protection from marauding caste Hindus.
This past week, a Muslim youth who had married a Hindu girl, landed at the office of the Coimbatore Superintendent of Police pleading for intervention after the bride’s parents opposed their matrimonial union.
Police personnel say couples smitten by love are increasingly looking at police stations as a place where their romantic relationship would be blessed.
“The trend of couples seeking refuge in police stations increased in the last decade after a few inspectors started conducting marriages in police stations and the same got widely reported in newspapers,” says S Muthiah, a retired head constable.
“My girlfriend’s family is a very influential one in our village and was dead against our marriage due to my poor economic status. They had even arranged henchmen to separate us forcing us to flee from the district,” recalls K Sathish, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) aspirant from Krishnagiri who had sought protection from the Coimbatore police a few months ago after eloping.
Police officers say when couples approach them, they first examine if they have attained the legal age of majority for wedding.
“We check whether the boy is above 21 years and the girl is above 18 years. If yes, we summon their families and categorically tell them that they must no longer interfere with the couple’s life,” says a police inspector at an All Women’s Police station in Coimbatore.