Warring families bury hatchet, solemnise marriage - thanks to cop

June 19th, 2008 - 11:01 am ICT by IANS  

By V.N. Balakrishna

Ahmedabad, June 19 (IANS) This love story from Gujarat could have been as tragic as the romance of Romeo and Juliet. But a police officer not only ensured a happy ending for the couple but also made their feuding families come together. Mirubhai Pathan and Ashrafbhai Malik, two Muslims in Pithai village of Kheda district, about 90 km from here, were sworn enemies for the past 20 years. And when daughter and son fell in love, things took a turn for the worse.

Things may have gone out of hand, but for police sub-inspector D.K. Rao.

“The origin of the feud could be traced to disputes over land and housing property,” Rao told IANS.

Pathan and Malik, both agriculturists, had filed several complaints and counter complaints, and the deep-rooted enmity had resulted in 12 violent clashes. It was when Pathan filed a complaint of rape against Malik’s son that Rao was asked to inquire into the case in its entirety.

Slowly the sub-inspector unravelled the case.

Sharifbano, Pathan’s daughter, and Malik’s son Rafiq had studied in their own village up to Class 10 and then joined the high school in nearby Rudan village. It was there that they met and fell in love.

One day, after they appeared in their Class 12 exam, Sharifbano and Rafiq eloped. But they were back within three days as the money they had was completely spent.

No sooner did Sharifbano return than Pathan filed a complaint of rape against Rafiq. Pathan held his daughter virtually under house arrest.

Sharifbano who was deeply in love with Rafiq and began writing to senior police officials saying no harm should come to him, as he was not guilty of what her father was accusing him of.

“When I took up the case I was surprised that the feud ran deep, with a long history of 20 years,” Rao said. As he began inquiries, it seemed that the ill-will and recrimination between the two families was beyond repair.

But he decided to try a different tactic.

Rao called Malik to the police station and said it was high time the enmity between the two families was buried once and for all and what better way to do that than asking his son Rafiq to marry Sharifbano?

Surely such an alliance would end the feud without letting the wounds fester, Malik agreed.

Rao then called Pathan who was a tougher nut to crack. He explained at length that the future of both families would be bleak if their strained relations continued. There would be no peace in the village either.

With his daughter in love with Rafiq and with his rival Malik also having agreed to the marriage proposal, Rao said it seemed to be Allah’s wish that the two families get into a matrimonial alliance. Pathan finally came around.

Rao also suggested that the marriage be solemnized at the Idgah close to the police station. Both families accepted the proposal.

And in a story that would put Bollywood scriptwriters to shame, Rafiq tied the knot with a thrilled Sharifbano this week.

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