While some BJP-ruled states have come with “Love-Jihad” laws to check alleged forcible conversions through marriages, inter-caste marriages have been making waves in Bihar. According to government statistics, 263 couples entered into inter-caste wedlock in 2019-20 ~ just double of 128 such weddings reported in 2018-19.
Darbhana, a north Bihar district, has registered a jump in such marriages and reported as many as 27 marriages in the last financial year.
Similarly, 26 such marriages have been reported from Bhagalpur, 16 from Patna, 14 from Vaishali and 12 each from Supaul, Gaya and Nalanda. Also, 11 such weddings have been reported from Madhubani, 10 from Begusarai, nine each from Sitamarhi and Kaimur, seven from Siwan, six each from Saran and East Champaran and two from Nawada.
Many such marriages have taken place from districts which have been in grip of orthodox social customs and have reported “honour killings” which explains the severity of the situation.
One such incident was reported in 2019 from Patna district where a youth was beaten to pulp and had his private parts chopped off with a sharp-edged weapon before being done to death along with his girlfriend in Bihar for daring to fall in love.
The youth came from a backward caste while the girl was from Rajput family.
Even more horrible incident was reported from Gaya district where two young lovers from different castes were strangled and chopped into pieces for falling in love.
The lovers had earned the ire of the girl’s family since they belonged to rival castes. While the girl belonged to influential Yadav caste, the boy, who ran a coaching centre, was from inferior Dalit community.
The girl had fallen in love with the boy while attending the coaching centre run by him. The girl’s family lost the cool after the girl eloped with the boy.
In order to eliminate the caste system, the state government has been promoting such marriages by granting financial incentive to the couples entering into inter-caste wedlock.
Bihar government has been giving Rs 1 lakh to each such couple. In 2017-18, 435 couples availed the grant. A breakup of beneficiaries of the grant scheme shows in 2014- 15, barely 252 couples benefited while in 2015-16, their number was 254. In 2016-17, 271 couples went for intercaste marriage.