Here’s the story of the Telangana Christian man who has approached the state human rights commission complaining that his girlfriend’s family made him convert to Islam and undergo circumcision as a precondition to their marriage, but have not kept their word.
Bobbili Bhaskar shared with this correspondent a brief recording of his conversation with his girlfriend’s father last year.
The father is heard telling Bhaskar that if he undergoes circumcision, then he will accept him as his son-in-law.
Bhaskar sounds thrilled as he replies, “Ohh sachchi uncle? Allah kasam bolo uncle. Thank you uncle [Oh, really uncle? Swear in Allah’s name it’s true. Thank you uncle].”
Bhaskar, a Christian by birth, went on to obtain a religious conversion certificate from a local Muslim organisation. He then underwent the surgical procedure.
The 25-year-old is a resident of Telangana state’s Vikarabad district, which is about an hour’s car ride from Hyderabad.
The conversion certificate, dated 10 June 2019, was issued by one ‘Muslim Welfare Association Tandur’ (Tandur is an area in Vikarabad). It mentions Bhaskar’s “Islamic name” as Mohammed Abdul Hunain.
The circumcision, says Bhaskar, was carried out by a Muslim surgeon in a Vikarabad-based hospital. He says he regrets the process as it has left him in perpetual pain. And traumatised too.
He says he would have never taken the step had it not been a precondition set by his girlfriend‘s family. “It was traumatising. It still hurts,” he says.
The girl’s father, however, wasn‘t satisfied with Bhaskar hacking off a part of his skin. He demanded more changes in Bhaskar’s lifestyle.
A strict vegetarian, Bhaskar became a regular meat-eater. From a Church-goer, he became a five-time namaazi.
So committed Bhaskar was to win over his girlfriend’s family that he would shoot videos of him reciting Islamic prayers and send them to her family.
Bhaskar shared several of such videos with this correspondent.
Only, the girl’s father did not keep his promise. When Bhaskar approached him — about four months after his conversion and with ample proof that he had been religiously observing the Muslim way of life — he faced rejection. The father, says Bhaskar, treated him as if he was a stranger.
Bhaskar kept persuading him for weeks, but the father continued to be cold towards him, he says. Three men from their family beat him up when he tried to get the community involved.
Bhaskar approached the local police, but the cops refused to intervene, he says.
Left with no option, he approached the State Human Rights Commission.
In a letter dated 18 January 2020, Bhaskar appealed to the commission to question the girl in its presence, and direct the police to lodge a first information report (FIR) against her family.
The letter says that the station house officer (SHO) of Vikarabad police station isn’t taking any action against Nikhath Sultana (his girlfriend), her father Saleemuddin, and three men who beat him up, namely Asif, Siraj and Lateef.
The letter says that Bhaskar and Nikhath, both residents of Vikarabad, know each other for 11 years and want to marry. They studied in the school together.
After they turned major, Bhaskar approached her father. He accepted the relationship but asked Bhaskar to convert to Islam. When Bhaskar approached her family for the wedding after his conversion, they “behaved with me as [if] I am a stranger to them and don’t know them”.
The letter further says that Nikhath visited him a few days later and begged him to marry her. Her parents, however, “illegally detained” her in the house.
Bhaskar approached some elders in the Muslim community for intervention. They asked the two parties to meet them together for an amicable solution, but the girl’s parents did not turn up. Three men from her family also thrashed him in a public park, the letter says.
Bhaskar says he has not been able to talk to Nikhath since then. Her family doesn’t allow her to, he says.
Bhaskar has pinned all hopes on February 11, when the commission is scheduled to hold a hearing in the presence of both the parties.
Bhaskar says that in the past six months, he has lost a significant amount of money. “First, I paid for my circumcision, which cost me several thousands. And now, I have sold off my motorcycle to hire a lawyer for the hearing,” he says.
Bhaskar, a graduate, runs a poultry business.
“Her family has treated me very unfairly. As of now, I only want to know Nikhath’s decision,” he says.