India : Love Commandos fight for love marriages
Each year, numerous honour killings are perpetrated in India. Aggressions, mutilations, rapes, sequestrations are conducted to pretentiously “defend the reputation of the family”. In the face of this phenomenon, the police often close their eyes. Some police officers are even complicit in these merciless, barbaric practices. For decades, these cursed lovers have had nowhere to go, no way to escape the wrath of their families … Until 2010, year of creation of Love Commandos, an organization that helps couples at risk.
The man behind the initiative of fighting for love marriages, combating inequality and religious and caste differences is Sanjoy Sachdev. According to him, it is the multiplication of mixed marriages that will reverse an archaic system of another time that tears apart families and makes love too often impossible in India. In 8 years, his organization has already helped more than 50,000 couples unite. A 24-hour phone line, legal aid, but also a roof for shelter: these are the promises of Love Commandos for all those who dare to go against the strict traditions of their communities.
The intervention of Love Commandos starts with a call – a young man or a girl in distress who wants to escape a forced marriage, the harassment of his or her relatives or even death. Sanjoy Sachdev and his team then come into play: if the victim can flee alone, they will meet him/her in a safe place where he/she will be taken care of; if he/she is held prisoner, an expert commando will try to release her, with only a pepper spray and Romeo, Sanjoy’s loyal rottweiler. Once secure in one of the hiding places of the Indian capital, the now-in-exile couples are hastily married.The lovers could be heterosexual or belonging to the LGBT community, the way of proceeding is the same for Love Commandos. No prejudice whatsoever.
Indian society has been divided into castes, social classes that have long governed the functioning of the country for thousands of years. In fact, it is almost a century since the constitution banned caste-based discrimination and allowed mixed marriages. In spite of this, so many Indian parents are ready to resort to the worst violence to prevent their children from uniting with persons of different castes.
All in all, Love Commandos is an NGO whose mission is to protect lovers against honour killings, unwanted marriages, rapes, sequestrations and many other discriminations. But chiefly, it is the knight in shining armour for distressed individuals who fall prey to mismatched marriages, especially in a country where 75% of the marriages are arranged….