Guwahati: Much before the expression ‘love jihad’ gained currency across the country, the saffron camp in Assam had this agenda very much in its bucket list.
It was June 2012. In Assam, the BJP was nowhere seen to be a powerful force. Just a year before, the party lost badly in the state assembly elections. It was then that Rumi Nath — a BJP turncoat and Congress MLA — secretly ‘married’ a young Muslim man abandoning her earlier marriage. She was then an MLA from the Borkhola constituency in the Cachar district.
The couple was on the run for a few days and then disclosed their marriage. This incident took the state by storm.
Many politicians then stayed away from commenting on Nath’s personal choices, while the BJP looked angry with the development.
When Nath with her partner stayed at a hotel in Karimganj district on June 29, 2012, an angry mob of 200 people launched an attack on the duo.
The MLA and her second husband Jaki Jakir, whom she married without divorcing her first husband, were beaten up and injured by the mob.
Police then said that the mob was angry at the second marriage of Nath to a Muslim man.
Nath, who was pregnant then and Jakir were severely injured and profusely bleeding before they were rescued by the police immediately after the incident.
The duo, after medical treatment, was escorted from Karimganj to Guwahati with police protection.
Nath alleged that the gang of men tore off her clothes and attempted to rape and murder her. A case was filed by her on this incident. Police arrested a few people, and some of the BJP leaders were also there.
However, the case later could not be followed much as many believe that there were some understandings done behind the curtain. But, BJP was extremely critical of Nath as she married a Muslim man despite herself being a Hindu.
Two years following the incident, Rumi Nath surprisingly lodged an FIR against her second husband Jackie Zakir accusing him of charges of extortion and physical assault. He was arrested by the police on Nath’s complaint but Zakir strongly denied the allegations and claimed a ‘political motive’ behind the complaint.
The couple got separated and Nath has been living since then with her daughter from her first husband and family.
She was first voted to the Assam Assembly in 2006 on a BJP ticket from the Borkhola constituency and later defected to the Congress and won the seat a second time in the 2011 elections. Nath again fought the 2016 polls but lost to BJP.
In October 2019, old pictures of the former MLA and her estranged second husband went viral on social media. The posts with the photograph of Nath injured in the mob attack were falsely shared as a Hindu woman, who had converted to Islam after marriage, beaten up by her Muslim husband.
This was termed ‘love jihad’ and widely circulated. Later, following a police complaint, the falsified posts were removed from the social media handles.
Nevertheless, after these untruthful social media posts, at least a circle got completed and Nath’s incident was finally linked with the ‘love jihad’.