Payal Sanghvi's family had alleged that she was kidnapped and blackmailed.
A Hindu woman ordered to stay at a government shelter in Rajasthan after she declared in court that she had married a Muslim, was told today that she is an adult and free to choose where she wants to go. As Payal Sanghvi, 22, said she wanted to go back to her husband Mohammad Faiz, her childhood sweetheart, the Rajasthan High Court asked the police to ensure her protection.
A group of rightwing protesters raised slogans as Payal walked out of the court and sat in the police gypsy that would drive her to her husband's home.
Payal's family had petitioned the court alleging that she was kidnapped by Mohammad Faiz and blackmailed, and that her marriage certificate was forged.
Last Wednesday, her brother Chirag Sanghvi told the court that Faiz had been harassing his sister for some time and had kidnapped her on October 25 on her way to college.
"This is a clear case of 'love jihad'," the family's lawyer Gokulesh Bohra had said, referring to the term used by right-wing groups for what they believe is the practice of Hindu women being lured into conversion and marriage by Muslim men.
Payal came to the court in a burqa and said she had married Mohammad Faiz of her own volition.
But the court sent her to a hostel for a week - until today's hearing - which raised eyebrows as she is above 18, and an adult.
Today, Payal's family admitted the young couple had been friends since school.
"We are disappointed, this girl is under some kind of spell...they used to study together in school, now what can one do about that," said her father Narpat Singhvi, upset by the court ruling.
Payal's father-in-law, denying any forcible conversion, said: "There is no love jihad...even 0.1%. They knew each other for 10 years, they used to meet often, and talked for hours on the phone. Both families knew."
The case coincides with the controversy over Hadiya, a 24-year-old Kerala woman who converted to Islam and married a Muslim. Her marriage has been challenged in court by her father, who alleged that it was a form of recruitment by ISIS that is gaining currency in Kerala. Yesterday, a National women's panel team met Hadiya and declared that she was "smiling and happy".