The Love Commandos© Riverboom
“A reward of Rs 50000 to kill us is still valid. Our crime is: we fell in love. We have been on the run since 2010 as our families are not ready to accept us as a couple. Had it not been for the Love Commandos we would not have been alive today”, explains Mehvish, 23.
In a land, where even Cupid would tread carefully, the Love Commandos, a volunteer organization, have taken the onus to protect couples from the animosity of their families. Operating from their HQ in the crowded area of Paharganj in North Delhi, the Love Commandos are a small team but have saved many couples. They fight against killers, resists police and battle against century long traditions that enrage entire villages. Lead by Sanjoy Sachdev and Harsh Malhotra this open group of activists helps these couples by organizing their break outs, filing their cases in court and protecting them from dangers, all in the name of Love.
Just last year, only in northern India, more than 900 young people were declared missing or dead. And it is to help such couples, who choose their life partner on their own that Love Commandos was born.
Infact, falling in love in India today can be a dangerous business. Most families do not accept the marriages, which are out of religion, caste or class. Families choose the bride or the groom and you don’t get married to a man or a woman but to their families.
But with more opportunities of education and the information age, things are rapidly changing and the young people refuse imposed marriages. Such couples end up living a life on the run, rather than spending their lives with someone they don’t love.
Even though marriages between people belonging to different classes, casts, or religions are permitted according to the Indian law, young couples who take this path often find themselves running away from those people who should love and protect them: their families.
Ending up chased by their relatives and often hunted down by assassins recruited by the Khap Panchayats, the Indian village councils that substitute the local government throughout the country, these young lovers have no choice other than to run away or find protection from the Love Commandos.
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