Sakshi Misra
Sakshi Misra Image Credit: Facebook/Screengrab from India Today interview excerpt

Prayagraj: In a sensational turn of events, the couple from Bareilly, who have been making headlines since last week claiming to be under threat from a BJP MLA over their inter-caste marriage, was on Monday reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint by armed men from outside the Allahabad High Court, where they had gone to seek protection.

The incident reportedly took place at 8.30am on Monday, hours before the case involving BJP MLA Rajesh Misra's daughter Sakshi Misra and her husband Ajitesh Kumar was to be taken up in the court.

However, in an update posted by ANI, the couple have been reported present at the court but they were allegedly roughed up at the premises of the court.

The lawyer representing the couple said on Monday, "Only Ajitesh was beaten up. It's not known who were these people. But it proves that there is indeed a threat to their life for which they were seeking protection."

The couple were rescued by police in Fatehpur and the abductors have reportedly been nabbed. 

Modus operandi

According to eye-witnesses, the young couple was seen waiting outside the court gate number 3, early in the day when a black SUV came and pulled in the couple at gunpoint.

The SUV bore the registration number UP80 which belongs to Agra district. Sources said that 'Chairman' was written on the rear of the vehicle.

Police officials said that the CCTV footage was being scanned and checking of vehicles have begun.

The kidnapping came on the same day when one of their friend's, who helped them in eloping was arrested in connection with a case in 2018. This friend is also said to be a close aide of the BJP MLA father.

What happened?

The controversy over Sakshi's marriage to Ajitesh on July 4 at the famous Ram Janki temple here had taken a new turn on July 12, after the priest of the temple denied solemnizing the marriage. Sakshi is reportedly Brahmin (highest caste in the now abolished caste system in India), while her husband is from the Dalit community (considered the lowest caste).

Understanding the caste system
The Hindu caste-based discrimination which is now abolished by law in India used to divide communities and people based on the different levels of castes - each caste set to do certain kinds of jobs depending on their 'place' in society.

The Hindu caste system has four categories - Brahmins (priests or teachers), Kshatriyas (warriors and kings or rulers), Veshyas (traders, merchants, farmers) and Shudras (labourers). Dalits were outside of this caste system and were considered 'untouchables' or achhoot.

Dalits is a term used for Indian castes that were lowest in the caste system and were oppressed by the higher castes including Brahmins, the highest caste.

While discrimination based on caste is illegal in democratic India, caste identities still run strong in most parts of the country. There are reservations and quotas in place for lower castes and disadvantaged groups who are either categorised as Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes or as Other Backward Classes (OBC). These quotas allow for positive reservations for educational and job opportunities.

- Dona Cherian

The Allahabad High Court had fixed Monday for hearing a petition filed by the couple, who had gone into hiding, fearing threat to their lives form the Misra and his henchmen.

In fact, Harish Kumar, father of Ajitesh Kumar, had said that he had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the couple and that he and his family have also left Bareilly, fearing threat to their lives.

Special Superintendent of Police Bareilly Muniraj said that he did not know the location of the couple but if they informed him about their whereabouts, he would provide security to them.

BJP MLA Rajesh Misra on Thursday said that his daughter was an adult and free to take her own decisions. He denied having threatened her with dire consequences. He said he was concerned about the age difference between the husband and wife and also the boy not having any proper employment.

The BJP, meanwhile, chose to remain tight-lipped on the raging controversy.

- With inputs from IANS