As his colleagues battle violence in the Kashmir Valley, a junior level police officer has found time to marry a girl born in Muzaffarabad — the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Owais Geelani, a sub-inspector, married Faiza Geelani early this week amid raging tension in the valley.
Family sources said the groom’s father Shabir Geelani, a retired police officer, had travelled to Muzaffarabad in 2014 to meet members of his divided family across the Line of Control (LoC) — the de facto border that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
There is a regular bus service called the “Karvan-e-Aman” (Caravan of Peace) from Srinagar to Muzaffarbad between the divided parts of Kashmir.
To rekindle family bond, the elder Geelani performed the ‘nikkah’ ceremony of his son in Muzaffarabad after obtaining his son’s consent as is mandatory under the Islamic code if the ritual is performed in absence of either the groom or the bride.
The police officer’s family belongs to the Karnah border town in north Kashmir Kupwara district and many members of the extended family had crossed over to Muzaffarabad in 1947.
Since traditional feasting and celebrations during marriages in the valley stand suspended because of the nearly two months of unrest, a small function was held in a local hotel on Tuesday where close relatives of the groom were invited to meet the couple and bless them.
The marriage of the young police officer is not the first such incident where a Kashmiri has taken a spouse from Pakistan-administered Kashmir or from other parts of Pakistan.
This marriage has caught significant attention because police are presently battling stone-pelting mobs and are in the thick of law and order management in the valley.
Senior separatist leader and chairman of pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik is married to Mashaal Malik, a Pakistan national. The couple have a daughter named Razia Sultana.
Cabinet minister Sajad Lone, a former separatist leader, is also married to Asma Khan, daughter of the late Amanullah Khan who hailed from Gilgit — also in Pakistani Kashmir and administrative capital of Gilgit-Baltistan region. The couple have twin sons who are studying in Delhi.