In a bizarre tale of marriage without consent, a 21-year-old supervisor in an IT company has got his newly-wedded wife tie a rakhi to him - symbolically making her a sister - after learning that she had earlier secretly married another man. The 'groom', Nitesh Tyagi, has also vowed to get the girl, Aarti, married to her lover despite alleged threats from her family. The girl, meanwhile, is living at the supervisor's house in Meerut's Devlok Colony.
"Even an animal brought against its will to a new owner will run away. This is a case of a sensitive and educated girl, forced to marry against her wishes. I am proud of my son's stand and support him wholeheartedly," said Nitesh's father Anil Tyagi.
Tyagi has declared that Aarti was now his 'daughter'. "Earlier, she was my daughter-in-law. Now, she is my second daughter. And my wife is equally happy to have her as a daughter," said Tyagi, a transporter by profession.
According to the family, Nitesh's marriage plans were fraught with complications from the start. He was initially engaged to be married to Aarti's elder sister. "But the girl eloped with a trainee police sub-inspector before the marriage, which was scheduled for May 6. Aarti's father, himself a sub-inspector with the Provincial Armed Constabulary in Rudrapur, told us that Nitesh should marry Aarti, to which we agreed. The wedding took place on May 6," said Tyagi.
But the family then learnt that Aarti had been forced into the alliance. "Aarti told my son that she had a lover whom she met during her graduation. They had even quietly married in a temple. Her family possibly drugged her on the night of the wedding. I had seen her weeping and unsteady on her feet," Tyagi said.
Aarti, too, told media that she may have been drugged during the wedding ceremony. "On the morning after the wedding ceremony, I told Nitesh I was already married and could not be his wife," she said.
"His reaction, and that of his parents, was unbelievable," Aarti said. "Nitesh made me tie a rakhi to him so that I could openly continue to live in the house as his sister. Even Nitesh's mother accepted the situation readily. Now she treats me like her daughter."
Nitesh claimed Aarti's family had threatened to turn the Rudrapur PAC force against the Tyagis if they arranged another wedding for Aarti. "We have decided to formally seek police protection on Friday. And then, we will hand over Aarti to her lover and rightful husband. I have no regrets," Nitesh said.
The Tyagi home, meanwhile, has virtually become a tourist destination, with admiring or unbelieving visitors flocking in from Meerut and elsewhere.