Not allowed to study if you marry outside your religion?

Kerala student alleges college barred her for marrying outside her religion will go to court
news Sunday, February 14, 2016 - 21:47

We have 19-year old Neeraja Anil and 23-year old Rameez Nandi as our protagonists with Kozhikode MES Fathima Gafoor Memorial Women’s College as the possible villain to boot.

Our protagonists fall in love, and marry under the Special Marriage Act with the blessings of the Kunnamkulam Municipal Court and you’d think there we have yet another happy ending.

But then we wouldn’t have had a story either. That’s where the College makes its grand entry.

When the first year literature student approached the college to ask for leave, Jameela -the vice-principal- according to Neeraja- told her in clear terms that the college’s stance on inter-religious marriage was that it was an unpardonable offence and one which no self-respecting college would brook.

Jameela, the student accuses, took great pains to reiterate the college’s irrevocable dislike for Neeraja’s despicable act in front of both the faculty and students alike.

In Neeraja’s own words to The News Minute: “I couldn’t attend classes for a few days having had to sort out a few legal tangles pertaining to my marriage. Three days ago, we went to meet the Principal, but the vice-principal simply wouldn’t allow us to meet her. She told me girls who indulged in inter-religious marriages are not permitted in the college and that the Principal is not at all interested in meeting such girls.”

Rameez adds: “Rather than make an issue out of this, we thought of quitting and taking admission in some other college. But the authorities simply refused saying that all certificates were in the possession of the Calicut University.  We were asked by the vice-principal to immediately quit the campus.”

Terming it as sheer arrogance, Rameez says the college authorities could have conveyed their views in a courteous manner: “All we did was to get married legally!”

Rameez adds that the college management’s real bone of contention seemed to be the fact that Neeraja had not converted to Islam: “Had she done so, there wouldn’t have been a problem at all.”

The Management however stuck to their official explanation to the media that since Neeraja had missed classes for a week, she could be allowed to attend only after meeting her parents.

Rameez however terms it a lame excuse, one to simply ward off unwanted media intrusion into the issue.

“Since it was a love marriage, obviously both sets of parents are dead-set against our union. The management is aware of this, then how do they expect her parents to come and explain things? Now that we are married, as her husband, I am her guardian. So why can’t I meet the principal?” asks Rameez.

The newly-weds are in no mood to give up and are all set take the college authorities on legally by approaching both the Human Rights Commission and the court.

“All I want is to be able to continue my studies,” says Neeraja.

 

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