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He’s Wed To Tower Over Love Blocked By Her Parents

Wed., Jan. 21, 1998

For five days, Ashraf Jamal has perched on a communications tower high above downtown New Delhi, tossing pleas written on stiff sheets of paper to a curious crowd gathered below.

Jamal says love has prompted his unusual protest. He refuses to come down until he can be reunited with the woman he claims to have married several years ago.

According to local newspapers, Jamal says that his Hindu wife, whom he met at a university, was abducted by her parents because they would not accept her marriage to a Muslim.

Interreligious marriages are uncommon in India, where most unions are arranged by families. Religion, caste and social status govern marriage choices.

It is the second time that Jamal, in his 20s, has climbed the 330-foot tower near the main New Delhi railway station. In November, a politician managed to talk him down, but apparently was unable to resolve the case.

The Indian Express newspaper has quoted Jamal’s alleged in-laws as saying that the marriage was invalid, but the family has refused to let the woman speak for herself.

Jamal has threatened to jump if his demands are not met, or if anyone tries to approach him.

“I am ill and losing strength. I did not get justice and that is why I have taken this step,” he said in a message that wafted down Tuesday afternoon.

Tags: Protest

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