KOZHIKODE: Gautham M, who could be working at a high-profile company as an engineer, is now sitting in his ancestral home in Paleri near Perambra. He does not dare to step out of his house as there are religious fundamentalists lurking in the corners waiting to shed his blood.
The crime he committed was marrying a Muslim girl, Anshidha, his childhood friend-turned lover.
The girl, who is a second-year BDS student, could not write her exams and is sitting close to him fearing that she could lose her husband any moment. There is none to help them other than Gautham’s parents and the CPM cadre, who sheltered the couple for seven months in Ernakulam as they could not enter their native place.
They had to seek police protection when they tied the knot in Kozhikode on October 8 under the Special Marriage Act.
Nothing changed even after they got married. Now the fundamentalist groups, who are the wholesalers of religious morality, are sending the photographs of Gautham and Anshidha through social media to likeminded people asking them to target the couple for violating religious rules.
“Our pictures in different names are being spread on WhatsApp and FB. This is being done in Dubai and other Gulf countries. We are scared of getting out as gangs roam around our area on bikes and threaten to finish us off,” Gautham told DC.
Gautham eloped with Anshidha on January 25 when Anshidha’s parents forced her for another marriage. They went to Bangalore and when her family along with goondas came in search of them they fled Bangalore as well. “We were literally chased by them, but somehow we managed to keep them at bay. I managed to survive by pledging her one gold ornament and when things got worse, I contacted my family. They supported me and we moved to Ernakulam on March 3 and hid there for seven months,” Gautham recalled his experience.
M. Sudhakaran, father of Gautham, said: “I think we are going backwards and nobody can believe that this is happening in Kerala. I brought up my children in a secular way and now my son and his wife are being hunted down for getting married. I am scared of sending them outside my house,” he said.
When contacted, Nadapuram DySP Prajeesh Thottathil said that police would ensure protection to the couple. “They have every right to live and we will take strong action against those who issue such threats against them,” he added.