For seeking protection or help, any normal individual’s reflex action would be to reach out for speed dial list comprising of family, friends and relatives, somewhat in a similar order.
Now imagine the plight of a girl who thought of writing to DCP Parliament Street or reaching out to Delhi Commission for Women seeking protection. Against? Her own family. For? Wanting to lead her life her way and worse still, not wanting to get married to a boy of her parents’ choice. The girl in question, Sheena Choudhary is an adult in her late twenties with all the right qualifications that India’s millennial elite can boast of.
Family forces daughter to marry stranger
Indian social activist and human rights campaigner Shabnam Hashmi brought to light the entire incident and circumstances surrounding Sheena under which she was abducted. “Sheena was abducted from near my office around two hours ago. She had approached us, she filed complaint with DCW yesterday. She is 26 years old and takes her own decisions,” wrote Hashmi while further posting the email addressed by Sheena to Delhi Commission for Women and even the handwritten letter sent to DCP Parliament Street.
In both the email and the letter, Sheena Choudhary introduces herself as an, “MGN fellow with IIM Bangalore placed in Dhaulpur, Rajasthan. I did my graduation from Miranda College and MSW from Delhi School of Social Work, Delhi University. I am 26 years old.” Thereon in the two page email Sheena makes a lot many allegations against her family. “I have clearly told my family many times that I do not want to get married as I am not mentally prepared for it. I am working and have plans to study further. My family has been pressurising me to get married.”
Calls of wedding, flees for life
In the email, Sheena also states, that without her knowledge her family met the boy’s family and without her consent, approved the marriage. Sheena further states in the letter that she was taken to meet the boy during Diwali vacations, however later she managed to call the guy and tell him everything. “I requested him to speak to his family and decline the proposal for marriage but he made some retrogressive remarks on my sexuality and political orientation.”
Abducted and recovered
The letter further reads, alleging that “On November 20, my mother called me in the morning and abused me and said that they would be coming to Dhaulpur to take me back and that they would no longer let me work or study.”
In the letter Sheena divulges the mindset of her family, but which is pretty much prevalent in some parts of the nation to a large extent. “My family is denying my right to take own decisions with regard to my future…I have known my family to be conservative in such matters. They agree with some very regressive views and attitudes that people have in the community about women. Instances of physical violence are not uncommon against girls for not obeying orders.”
Sheena eventually seeks protection against her own family, expressing her desire to live her life independently and not wanting to be contacted by her parents.
The incident symbolises most of what’s wrong with the nation. The deeply embedded mindset that considers women not free enough to be on their own. She better be given access to a lawyer and given protection, pleaded several on social media. While others questioned, how conservative could her family be, since they let her study and work in another city.
What? Recovered? A girl?
Later, the tweet by Dholpur Police said, “During course of investigation of FIR No 444/20 PS Nihal Ganj Dholpur Sheena Chaudhary is recovered from Delhi and will be produced before court for 164 CrPC statement. Police Action is absolutely unlawful.”
Just when the nation is debating over the definition of Love Jihad and reeling from the shock of an onscreen kiss depicted on digital platform leading to FIRs, herein comes another moot point. The copy will be duly updated with the family’s response as IBTimes hasn’t been able to independently verify the claims made in the case.
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