‘Divorce party’ cancelled in Indian city following protests

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A divorce party has been cancelled in Bhopal, India, following protests by local Hindu organisations.

In the past week, an invitation card containing details of the event went viral on social media.

Apparently, a group of 18 men from an NGO named Bhai Welfare Society (brothers’ welfare society) were planning a party to celebrate their respective divorces in the central Indian city of Bhopal.

The initiative was reportedly organised to “motivate” men that life doesn’t end after a divorce.

The functions listed in the card celebrating the marriage dissolution ceremonies included rituals like the immersion of the jaymala (wedding garland), gents sangeet (musical event similar to ladies sangeet in a marriage ceremony), Sadbuddhi Shuddhikaran Yagna (fire ritual for good sense and purification), and seven steps and oaths to work for human dignity.

The event was scheduled to begin at 11am on 18 September at a resort in Bilkhiria on the outskirts of Bhopal. Approximately 200 people were invited.

However, on Monday (12 September), Bhai Welfare Society announced via their Instagram page that the divorce celebration has been cancelled due to protests by some local Hindu organisations.

The NGO heads said they did not want any politics to interfere in a “private event”.

“Normally we celebrate such divorces by cutting cake,” Bhai Welfare Society’s president Zaki Ahmed told The Week. “But due to Covid-19 pandemic we could not meet, so we decided on a get-together. Enthusiastic young members drafted the invitation letter and we took it lightly. But it suddenly went viral all over the country.

“We are not anti-women, but against the misuse of laws,” Mr Ahmed said.

He said that the aim of his NGO is to help men in distress and offer them legal and psychological support free of cost.

The president of Bhopal-based Sanskriti Bachao Manch, Chandrashekhar Tiwari, objected to this event saying that he won’t tolerate any attack on the Indian culture.

Mr Tiwari had reportedly warned of a protest at the event venue and submitted a memorandum to the home minister’s office seeking strict action. He also warned of a criminal case against the organisers if they didn’t call off the event.