Hugging his girlfriend after proposing to her on bended knee in public has landed a Bhiwandi man, and also the woman, in trouble with local leaders of their community. Someone shot a video of the romantic act that went viral on social media, prompting a virulent reaction to the young couple. The man was made to apologise on video, which was posted online, and a local organisation threatened further humiliation, promising that it will make him and his lover do squats in public.
The hateful reaction to a simple expression of love has traumatised the couple and those among their friends who were present during the proposal. Feeling unsafe, the couple has left the city.
“We are upset. My daughter has threatened to commit suicide if the harassment does not stop,” the woman’s father told TOI. “It’s unethical of some people to react in this way over a silly mistake.”
Last Saturday (March 11), Salim, along with a friend, drove down to Shabnam’s college to meet her (names changed to protect identities). Seeing her, he stopped the car in the middle of the road, got out and rushed towards her with a rose. Then he proposed the old-fashioned way, with friends cheering on and applauding.
Their nightmare started the next day when they realised that a video of their act had been shot and uploaded online. Along with it was the message that everyone involved in the matter should be punished as the act was against the tenets of their religion.
Shakeel Raza, secretary, Raza Academy, which forced the apology, told TOI, “We only made the couple realise their mistake and asked them to apologise for whatever they did publicly.”
Baddiuzzaman Khan, founder president, National Lokhind Party, which initially wanted the couple to do squats and had also planned to go on a demonstration against them, told TOI on Friday that they have changed their plans and instead want to take legal action against the couple “who stopped traffic”.
The Thane police have received a complaint from the girl’s family, said Manoj Patil, DCP (zone II, Thane). “Strict action would be taken against those who are threatening her and her family.”
An FIR will be registered against those who threatened the man and shot his video, said senior inspector Dinesh Katke of the Bhoiwada police station. “We will also serve a notice to the president of the National Lokhind Party for calling a protest march against the couple.”
Civic activist Satyajeet Burman said, “Those reacting against the couple should be booked under stringent sections of the IPC and the IT Act so that henceforth no one dares to interfere in the personal life of someone else.”