Tempers Run High In Zanskar Over Interfaith Marriage

File photo of Zanskar valley

LBA Shoots Letter To LG, Alleges Girl Forcibly Married; Converted

Srinagar- Tension is brewing once again in Zanskar region of Kargil district after a Buddhist girl converted to Islam and married a Muslim man from Kargil.

According to reports, dozens of Buddhists on Wednesday took out a protest march in Zanskar demanding girl be handed over to them.

On Wednesday the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) submitted a memorandum to Lt Governor Ladakh, Radha Krishna Mathur in which it has alleged that a Muslim youth from Padum Zanskar has ‘forcibly’ married a Buddhist girl.

LBA has demanded that the girl should be recovered and handed back to the family and threatened of communal disturbances in the region if authorities fail to do so.

LBA has alleged that the sole motive of interfaith marriages is forceful conversion.

LBA has claimed that communal riots are likely to breakout  in the region if administration fails to recover the girl.

However, the council for the couple Advocate Ismail told Kashmir Observer that the girl is a major who has willingly accepted Islam to marry a man of her choice as per her free will.

The High Court of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh on November 26 ordered protection to the couple after they approached it following harassment by interested parties.

The couple, according to the court order, had entered into the marriage out of their “own free will and consent”.

“The statement has been recorded before the judicial register of this court in front of their council,” the order reads.

The court directed police to provide security cover to the couple and act in strict accordance with law laid down by the Supreme Court.

The court noted that both “petitioners” are “major” and marriage has been solemnized in strict accordance with prevalent laws.

“If there is any case/FIR against any of the petitioner(s), police may go ahead with the investigation under rules and take it to its logical conclusion,” the order reads.

The court further noted that “disposal of instant writ petition will not validate or confirm petitioners' marriage or their age/majority, which, however, is subject to fulfilment of requirements as envisaged under prevalent laws,” it reads.

Conversions and inter faith marriages have been common occurrence in Ladakh region. However off late such issues have often taken a violent turn as radical elements in both communities have gained ground in the cold desert.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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