Srinagar, Sep 12: A wedding between a Buddhist woman and a Muslim man has sparked communal tension in Ladakh. The religious body has threatened communal unrest if the woman isn’t brought back to them. The Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) has decided to approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the growing tension between Buddhists and Muslims in the region before “peace, tranquillity and communal harmony takes an ugly turn”. The religious body has also written to J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti, asking for an annulment of the marriage between 30-year-old Shifah and 32-year-old Murtaza Aga. The woman converted to Islam in 2015 and married Murtaza Aga, last year.
The J&K high court has also directed authorities not to harass the couple. Alleging that the government has been trying to clean the state of Buddhists, top LBA official PT Kunzang said, “We will fight against this till the last drop of our blood.”
The letter, written by the religious body, reads: “Young girls are being lured by Muslim boys to marry and finally convert them to Muslim. We have repeatedly asked the Muslim community leaders to sensitise their communities to stay away from such wicked which otherwise will lead to communal unrest,” reports HT.
After the allegations of ‘love jihad’, the woman wrote to Mehbooba Mufti stating that she fell in love with Murtaza while working in a Delhi-based NGO and the decision to marry him was her own choice. However, Buddhist association stresses that her consent for the wedding was obtained under threats.
Dismissing LBA’s allegations, Shifah said that the association is making false and concocted statements to suppress and threaten the rights of an individual. “I appeal not to let hatred and fear to win over love and compassion,” she wrote in the letter. She also said choosing Islam was her spiritual choice that had little to do with her marriage. A copy of this letter is with HT.
Shifah also said that choosing and converting to Islam was her own spiritual choice and had nothing to do with her wedding to the Muslim man. “I am affirming my new Islamic faith in healthy and sound mind without any threat, force or compulsion or coercion from any person or person, whatsoever,” her conversion affidavit said.
In another affidavit dated July 7, 2016, Shifah stated that she got married to Syed Murtaza Aga out of her “own free will and consent”. She also declared that she was not “induced or abducted” by her husband.